America’s Hottest Real Estate Market: Why Everyone Is Buying Homes in This California

DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

GOBankingRates monitors real estate and housing trends in search of where Americans are buying (and selling) homes most. A search for median sales price by city, average days on the market, number of homes sold and other data provided by Redfin, a national real estate brokerage, found that Oakland topped the list of the hottest California city to buy a home. 

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The median sales price of a home in Oakland is $925K, up 8.8% year over year. Especially notable is that the median number of days an Oakland home is on the market is just 19 with 72% of the homes selling for above asking price. This report looks deeper into why the housing market in Oakland is hot, despite rising mortgage rates.

Proximity to Other Major Cities

Oakland is interconnected with the diverse San Francisco Bay Area, creating a region known for its cultural richness, economic opportunities and scenic landscapes. Neighbors include San Francisco and Berkeley. In addition, Silicon Valley is approximately 35 miles away. Driving times can vary depending on traffic conditions, but under normal circumstances, it takes approximately 45 minutes to one hour by car.

Affordability Relative to San Francisco and Neighboring Cities

In comparison to its neighbors, Oakland offers a more affordable housing market. In comparison, the median sale price of a San Francisco home is $1.4 million and $1.2 million in Berkeley.

Skyrocketing real estate prices have prompted many to consider Oakland, where the middle class is thriving and many individuals and families can find attractive housing options without compromising on proximity to major employment centers and cultural amenities.

Thriving Job Market and Economic Opportunities

Some of the primary factors driving the influx of homebuyers to Oakland are the city’s thriving job market and robust economic opportunities. With its proximity to the cities mentioned, such as San Francisco, Berkeley and the Silicon Valley region, Oakland offers residents a wealth of employment options.

The job market’s strength not only attracts professionals seeking career advancement but also contributes to a stable local economy. Some of the largest area employers include:

Cultural Diversity and Community Vibrancy

Oakland’s rich cultural diversity and vibrant communities are a magnet for those seeking a dynamic living experience. The city’s commitment to enhancing infrastructure, public spaces and amenities contributes to an improved quality of life. These efforts have led to the revitalization of historic districts, creating appealing residential pockets that blend modern amenities with the charm of Oakland’s past.

The city is celebrated for its inclusive atmosphere, eclectic neighborhoods and a strong sense of community. Best Neighborhood awards Oakland with a diversity score of 99 out of 100 — which ranks it as one of the most culturally inclusive cities in the country.

Prospective homebuyers are drawn to the unique blend of cultures, arts and traditions that make Oakland a melting pot of creativity and expression. The city’s commitment to fostering diversity and inclusivity plays a pivotal role in attracting individuals and families.

Investment Potential and Appreciation

The real estate market in Oakland has consistently appreciated, making it an attractive option for those looking at homeownership as an investment. The median sales price in 2019 was a little over $600K. Buyers are drawn to the potential for long-term gains as property values continue to rise.

The city’s strategic location, coupled with ongoing urban development projects, further enhances its investment appeal. Ongoing community development and revitalization projects have transformed various neighborhoods in Oakland, making them more attractive to potential homebuyers.

Several mixed-use developments are slated, as well as the Oakland Waterfront Ballpark District at Howard Terminal. Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) continues to expand, providing affordable public transportation in the area. As Oakland continues to evolve into a vibrant city, real estate becomes not only a place to live but also a promising avenue for building wealth over time.

Access to Nature and Outdoor Amenities

Oakland’s proximity to natural attractions, including parks, trails and the picturesque Oakland Hills, contributes to its appeal as a residential destination. Homebuyers are attracted to the city’s commitment to green spaces and outdoor recreation.

Lake Merritt is known as the “Jewel of Oakland.” Redwood Regional Park is just a few miles from Downtown Oakland. Residents can enjoy a diverse range of outdoor activities for a healthy and active lifestyle.

Entertainment and Culinary Scene

The burgeoning culinary scene and diverse entertainment options in Oakland add to its allure as a place to live. From gourmet eateries and food festivals to live music venues and cultural events, the city offers a vibrant array of experiences. There are nearly 50 museums to explore, including the Oakland Museum of California, Mills College Art Museum and Chabot Space and Science Center.

You can catch concerts at the Paramount, Fox Theater or renovated Oakland Metro Operahouse. Highest-rated restaurants include Shan Dong, Mujiri or Horn Barbecue. Prospective homeowners are enticed by the prospect of living in a locale where they can explore new cuisines, attend diverse cultural events and enjoy a dynamic social scene.

Transportation Options

Oakland’s strategic location and well-connected transportation infrastructure make it an ideal choice for those who prioritize accessibility. With multiple BART stations, bus routes and access to major highways, residents have plenty of convenient commuting options.


Families opt for specific Oakland neighborhoods thanks to some of the best schools in the area. According to Atlas Apartments in Oakland, schools located in the Montclair neighborhood are among the best in the nation. Plus, there are several area colleges and universities, such as Laney College, Lincoln University and Mills College.


Oakland, California, is one of the hottest real estate markets in the country as a result of the economic opportunities, cultural richness and relative affordability when compared to other Bay-Area cities. Oakland offers residents a blend of urban living and natural beauty.

As the city continues to evolve with community development initiatives and investment in transport, the arts and infrastructure, the allure of homeownership in Oakland is likely to persist, attracting individuals and families seeking a vibrant and diverse place to call home.

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