Red Hot Alameda Real Estate

Oakland and Berkeley’s real estate boom may get most of the ink, but the real estate climate in Alameda is just as charged


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Photo courtesy of Guy Blume

Oakland and Berkeley’s real estate boom may get most of the ink, but the real estate climate in Alameda is just as charged.

The Island’s eclectic stock of Victorians, Craftsman bungalows, condos, townhouses, manors, and military-issue track homes—with ocean views—has something for just about everyone.

“People who are looking for Bay Area real estate are looking at Alameda,” said Harbor Bay Realty’s Guy Blume. “Most of my clients are ‘off-island’ or ‘move-up’ buyers who bought what they could afford at the peak, but who are now looking for larger homes for expanding families. We’re also seeing a lot of people from the Peninsula and San Francisco looking for more home—and value—for their dollar.”

Even at the million-dollar mark, homes are selling at a brisk clip. In 2015, the average time a $1 million-plus home spent on the market was 18 days, with some closing in little as two weeks.

“My last sale was a $1.1-million cash transaction from a family who owns the largest manufacturing facility in Shanghai,” Blume added. “Cash sales are always attractive—and hard to pass up.”

Yet there is inventory on the Island that doesn’t require membership in the silver spoon—or yacht—club. At Blume’s last count, there were approximately 40 homes available on the Island, including condos and townhouses. In late 2015, the median price of a home in Alameda was just shy of $1 million.

The highest priced Alameda property sold recently—a 6-bedroom, 4-bath 3,500-square-foot manse on Bay Farm Island—tipped the scales at close to $2 million and sold in less than a month. At the other end of the spectrum, a 2-bedroom, 1-bath. 772-square-foot condo on Otis Drive, priced at $385,000, has languished on the market for more than 40 weeks.

“It’s over-priced for its location and condition, and it needs a lot of work,” Blume said. “Overpricing by a substantial amount, even in today’s market, is never a good idea. But some agents are adamant: The comps say it’s worth X amount, and they just won’t budge on the list price.

“With so much information available from real estate portals like Redfin and Zillow, consumers searching homes online have become ‘immune’ to the asking price, acknowledging that’s simply the ‘opening bid.’ We use the list price as a marketing tool. Pricing a little below market cost drives buyers in,” Blume said. “Everyone loves a value.”

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