What the Money Bought in Oakland, California — $1,000,000

What the Money Bought in Oakland, California — $1,000,000

What do a million dollars actually buy you in Oakland, California today? To answer that, we will look at the last four years of data from the MLS. Hopefully, this data will tell us what is actually selling for a million dollars from 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021. That’s the year to date, and it is mid-November when I’m recording this.

What $1M bought in Oakland

Oakland, without a doubt, is a really big place. There are a lot of units on average, around 3500 units sold in the city. Condos, townhouses, single-family homes, and other similar structures are included in this figure. Duplexes, multifamily, land, and some of that stuff are not counted in this case. I’m talking about just the general single-family units that most people would purchase as their primary residence.

In this blog, we will talk about how the market landscape has changed. We’ll talk about how that million-dollar home over just the last four years has changed drastically. For example, it used to get almost 3.5 bedrooms and over two bathrooms, with an area of 1,800 square feet. Meanwhile, a million dollars today only buys you 2.5 bedrooms, one and a half bathrooms, and approximately 1,388 square feet. So, you see the progression, what has changed, the dollar per square foot, the list price to sales price ratios. You see all of that kind of stuff. And we’re going to get into it so you can make a better-informed decision when going out into the marketplace to compete. 

No. of Houses, Days-on-Market, and Beds and Baths

Let’s begin by looking at the average number of houses sold each year at this $1,000,000 price point. Based on the data, we’ve had 44 houses sold so far this year, with an average days-on-market (DOM) of 12 days. That is a much shorter DOM than in 2018, with 33 homes sold and a DOM of 29 days. Meanwhile, in 2019 and 2020, there were 47 and 46 properties sold and DOMs of 26 and 17 days, respectively. The days-on-market of properties sold has continuously decreased over those four years.

Furthermore, according to the data, the average number of beds also decreased from 3.21 in 2018 to only 2.54 in 2021. In 2019, the average number of beds in homes sold that year was 2.8, while in 2020, it was 2.91. Overall, there are fewer bedrooms in the houses sold in 2021 than in 2018.

The same trend can be observed in the average number of bathrooms. On average, there were 2.21 bathrooms in the houses sold in 2018. Meanwhile, in 2019 and 2020, the average number of bathrooms per house was 1.91 and 1.93, respectively. 2021 also has the lowest average number of bathrooms with only 1.56, which is 0.65 lower than in 2018. 

These numbers were consistent with Alameda. The houses got smaller and had fewer bedrooms and bathrooms in both areas. And in Oakland’s case, you lost over half a bedroom and over half a bathroom, which is fascinating.

Dollars per Square Foot

Next is the dollars per square foot, which is very interesting, I’d say. According to the data, the dollar per square foot has gone up really significantly. In 2018, the average price per square foot of homes sold for $1,000,000 in Oakland was $568. Then, in 2019, it increased to $629 per square foot and increased further to $667 in 2020. This year has the highest average price, at $738 per square foot.

However, honestly, that is expected as the size of the house goes down and the total price stays the same. You’re going to pay more for that same square footage. But you’ll only see that if you want to spend about a million dollars to buy a home in Oakland. So, broadly, you will pay $170 more today for the same house as it was back in 2018. It’s pretty interesting if you think about it, isn’t it? So, that’s something to pay attention to.

Square Footage and Age

Then, if you look at the average area of houses each year, you’ll also see an interesting trend. Based on the data, 2018 has the largest average square footage with 1,855 square feet. Meanwhile, the houses sold in 2019 had an average area of 1,693 square feet, and in 2020, it was 1,603 ft.. On the other hand, in 2021, the houses sold so far had only 1,388 square feet on average. That means that in 2021, on average, homes are substantially smaller in terms of area by 467 square feet than in 2018.

Moreover, what’s also interesting to see is the age of the houses sold at the $1,000,000 price point each year. Usually, I don’t give much thought to this. That’s because Oakland is a really big area, and so you’re pulling a lot of average ages into it. However, as you can see from the data, the average age of houses sold at this million-dollar price point has increased. In 2018, the average age of homes was about 56 years. On the other hand, in 2019 and 2020, it was 74 and 79 years, respectively. In 2021, the average age of houses sold for $1 million was 74.

List Price vs. Sales Price

The piece of data we’re going to look at next is a fascinating one. Many people have always asked questions like, “What do I pay?” Or, “If I see it listed at this price, what do I have to pay to get it?” Well, to answer that, let’s have a look at the numbers.

According to the data, in 2018, the average listing price of houses sold at that $1,000,000 mark was $888,379. That means those houses were sold at a 12.51% premium over what the sellers listed them for initially. On the same note, in 2019, properties sold at $1 million had an average listing price of $903,202. That is equivalent to a 10.70% higher selling price. Meanwhile, in 2020, it was $926,202, with a 7.68% difference between the listing and sales price. Lastly, in 2021, houses sold for $1,000,000 were sold, on average, 16.65% higher than their asking price. So, generally, to buy something at that million-dollar price point today, you’re looking for homes listed around $850,000–$860,000.

Traditionally, the numbers haven’t been quite the same, as you can see from the data. It’s been a little bit up and down in the last couple of years. So you see a little bit of a fluctuation there. But in general, everything is selling for between 10% and 15%, except in 2021, which is over 16.5%.

No. of Properties Sold Above the $1M Price Point

The next one we’re going to talk about is these numbers highlighted in yellow markers. In general, these numbers are about the overall market. So what this is is the total number of homes or units sold in Oakland above a particular price point. The price point we’re considering, in this case, is $1,000,000. And if you’re wondering, these numbers under the column “Total Sold” include townhouses, condos, and everything that’s single-family units.

As shown in the table, in 2018, 894 out of the 3,447 properties sold were priced higher than $1,000,000. In other words, buying houses for $1,000,000 in that year puts you in the top 25.94% of the market. Similarly, in 2019, 952 homes out of the 3,476 sold, or 27.39%, were also bought for over $1,000,000. Furthermore, in 2020, 32.62% of the 3,510 properties sold that year were also priced above that same price point. And to top it all off, it still increased further this year. Out of the 3,850 houses sold so far, 1,553 of them, or 40.34%, were sold for over $1 million.

Honestly, that is just crazy. I mean, the numbers increased pretty consistently and substantially by 14.4% from 2018 to 2021. Even more interesting is that the transactions at the $1 million price point only correspond to the top 40.34% of the market. That only means that there are a lot of transactions happening at those higher price points above $1 million in Oakland! So, you can see that the raw price points are really being pushed up pretty substantially.

Type of Units

Lastly, the last set of columns shows how many units were sold of each type at that million-dollar price point. In 2018, 26 single-family houses, five condos, and two townhouses were sold for $1,000,000. Forty single-family units, five condos, and one townhouse were also sold at the same price in 2019. While in 2020, 43 single-family homes, two condos, and only one townhouse were sold for the same price. Then, in 2021, so far, there are only single-family units and condos sold at the $1,000,000 mark. And out of the 44 sold this year, 7 of them are condos. And it’s interesting to see that we have the most condos that have ever gone at that million-dollar price point than we’ve had in the last 3−4 years. Also, as you’ve noticed, the number of single-family houses sold at that million-dollar price point has increased pretty consistently as well.


In summary, unlike in 2018, houses today have less space but cost more per square foot at that $1,000,000 mark. There is a decrease of over half a bedroom and half a bathroom per house compared to 3.5 years ago. Today, a million dollars only gets you roughly two and a half bedrooms and one and a half bathrooms. Moreover, it only affords you, on average, 1,300 to 1,400 square feet of space. That is equivalent to $738 per square foot in terms of dollars per square foot at that $1 million price point. Also, this year, the average listing price of the properties sold at that same price point is about $860,000. Those properties had an average of 12 days on the market.

Despite this, transacting at that price point may still be considered in the upper tier of the market compared to all units sold in Oakland. However, just remember that about 40% of the total units sold this year were sold over that million-dollar price point, which is 14% higher as opposed to the 26% in 2018. So, hopefully, that gives you something to chew on and understand.

For me, it is really fascinating to see how much smaller the average home has gotten. Although, admittedly, because it’s a much smaller city, there is much less inventory and less data in Alameda. However, I can say that I see the same trend in Alameda as in Oakland. So, just keep the information we’ve discussed in mind when transacting in Oakland. And, hopefully, it will come in handy if you’re really looking to transact within that $1,000,000 price point.

I hope my blog and video on what the money bought in Oakland, CA for $1 million has helped you.

If I can give you more context on the process of buying or selling your home, please do not hesitate to reach out. My information is below. 

Here’s to all your success!

What the Money Bought in Oakland, CA — $1,000,000

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What the Money Bought in Oakland, CA — $1,000,000

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