In non-Corona-related news (does that even exist anymore?), Kaiser cancelled their plans to build out a 1.6 million square foot tower due to delays and the ever-increasing costs of construction and project-related fees (not because of the pandemic, although the timing couldn't have been worse). This would've been Oakland's biggest commercial project, so this is a huge blow to the development of downtown.
In the midst of the biggest growing phases in downtown Oakland history, another tech giant is hopping on the bandwagon and making the move! Credit Karma opted to lease 5 floors with a rooftop deck at 1100 Broadway. Now with two offices, one in Oakland and one in SF, Credit Karma employees will be able to BART back and forth between two locations. New residential towers, offices, and hotels are also expected to pop up in the area within 6-12 months, proving that downtown Oakland's momentum is just getting started.
Is everyone else finding it impossible to read the internet or take part in a conversation without the coronavirus coming up? Well, this post will be no exception.
As someone who thoroughly enjoys the occasional night of self-quarantine (thank you DoorDash and Netflix), the coronavirus is the excuse I've been waiting for my whole life to stay at home wrapped in a blanket for hours on end without feeling guilty. But it turns out that buyers have other plans.
While everyone everywhere seems to be in panic mode—avoiding large crowds, eating out less, working from home more, washing their hands often (ok maybe it's not all bad?), and stocking up on toilet paper like it's the end of days, Bay Area buyers seem unphased and are still going to open houses in droves, determined as ever to make their next move. Maybe it's the ridiculously low interest rates, lack of inventory, rush of activity after holding off last year, ambitious 2020 goals, or all of the above, but buyers have a renewed sense of energy and are back in the market in full force.
Which means the bidding wars are making a comeback, as evidenced by these extreme examples:
This mid-century modern house in Montclair got 21 offers.
An Adams Point penthouse with a 500 sq ft roof terrace got 26 offers.
And one charming house in Fruitvale even got 42 offers. That's FORTY. TWO. OFFERS!
It truly is (March) madness out there, at least for now. With the spring market approaching, virus fears spreading, interest rates falling, important elections coming, stock market rollercoaster-ing, stay tuned to see how everything plays out. TO BE CONTINUED...
Big news for both renters and landlords in Oakland—the City Council unanimously approved an ordinance banning landlords from inquiring about potential tenant's criminal history or rejecting them based on having a criminal record. Berkeley is planning to vote on a similar measure in February.
Long but necessary list of exemptions include: single family homes, duplexes, triplexes, in-laws with the owner living on the property, tenants looking for a roommate, and government-subsidized affordable housing.
Supporters say this will help to ensure those with criminal records have an equal chance to secure housing and successfully reintegrate themselves back into the community. Landlords have 6 months to adapt to the law, or they'll be fined up to $1000 for each violation.
And it's not even February yet!
A week into the new year, Climb announced an unexpected shutdown, and just like that—the place I called home for the last 3.5 years is now sadly no more. It's crazy how an office that was once bursting at the seams with vibrance and energy could just cease to exist overnight the way it did. But, life goes on (is what I was told after reasonably and rationally claiming to be homeless and jobless forever and ever).
Needless to say, things have been a little nuts. In the span of ten extremely long days, I learned the news about Climb (devastating), scrambled around interviewing with different brokerages (exhausting), continued working as though my work life had not just been turned upside down (grinding), bought an investment property on an aggressively tight timeline (stress-inducing), found my new real estate home at Compass (exciting), and lived happily ever after (hoping). While I will always carry a piece of Climb with me wherever I go (literally because this pop socket with the Climb logo stuck to the back of my phone is impossible to take off), I'm super excited for these new beginnings and what's in store for me at Compass!
Besides a change in my email address (please please please save firstname.lastname@example.org to your address book!), everything else will be business as usual. The only exception is that I now have more tools, more resources, more support, which ultimately allows me to have more time for you and your referrals. ;)
A few months ago, health insurance company Blue Shield of California moved 1,200 of their employees from their old building in San Francisco to a 24-story high rise a few blocks away from the Oakland City Center BART Station. And it appears this is just the beginning. There's a whole movement happening—companies want to be based in Oakland.
Kaiser Permanente plans to build a $900 million headquarters, BART plans to create a new headquarters, and tech companies Square and Credit Karma have already signed major plans to expand their SF-based offices to The Town. And let's not forget to mention the most important development of all: FOOD. The new launch of Oakland Assembly, a 14,000 square foot, two-level market hall located at Jack London's waterfront will bring in star chefs who will be sure to fill your bellies while emptying your wallets.
All of these developments have made one thing abundantly clear: Downtown Oakland is about to see one of its biggest building booms in decades, and I'm here for it.
Oh, that's it? Apologies in advance for the buzzkill, but according to a new Charles Schwab survey, to be considered "wealthy" in the Bay Area, you need a net worth of at least $6 million. A net worth of $1 million is the baseline for being "comfortable." That's all, no big deal.
Charles Schwab surveyed 1,000 Bay Area residents aged 21 to 75 in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, SF, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Solano counties. The survey asked what residents considered enough money to be "wealthy" vs. "comfortable." They believed $2.5 million was the average needed to be wealthy in other parts of the country.
The survey unsurprisingly found that locals are shocked by the cost of living here. 86% said the cost of living is "unreasonable" and 55% said living in the Bay Area makes it "difficult to reach their financial goals."
To counteract these depressing stats, the majority also believe this is a prime place for career growth and innovation, and the Bay Area's economy is better than the national one.
On a scale of 1-10, how depressingly familiar does this traffic look? With all the awards and recognition the Bay Area could've gotten, we managed to claim the bronze medal for Worst Traffic in America with an average of 75 hours wasted in traffic in 2015. Yay, go us.
And here you have your worst traffic corridors of 2015. Now you know exactly where and when not to drive.
To help remedy the housing shortage, a rush of proposals for new Oakland towers have been submitted. It will potentially add over 3,000 residential units to downtown, becoming one of the largest building booms in the city's history. The projects would transform lowrise buildings and parking lots into a fancy glass, steel and concrete skyline.
When asked about her hopes and dreams for Oakland, Mayor Libby Schaaf said, "I like tall buildings, especially near transit." In other words, she supports denser housing downtown and hopes to see 17,000 units of new housing built in Oakland within the next 8 years.
See map below for the downtown highrise pipeline:
Quoted directly from SF Business Times (because I could never be so eloquent): "As the exodus from the pricey San Francisco office rents has pushed businesses to search for more affordable digs, one city in particular has reaped the benefits: Oakland.
Whether it's Uber buying the 400,000 square foot Uptown Station property, formerly the Sears building, or San Francisco bastion the Sierra Club pulling its 124-year-old stakes, more than a dozen major businesses have fled to Oakland so far this year."
See chart below.
All things real estate.