OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf stopped by our KTVU studios Wednesday morning to discuss the booming real estate market, the search for a new police chief and the potential for a new ballpark.
Real Estate Market
Oakland has one of the hottest real estate markets right now - in fact it's the fastest growing in the nation.
According to Zillow home values went up 16 percent from last year and the median price is just over $615,000.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said the booming real estate market is both good and bad news for Oakland. It's obviously good news for home owners and bad news for renters.
"On one hand it's fantastic that people have discovered the awesomeness of Oakland but it is definitely coming at a speed that was not anticipated and it's causing displacement, it is causing gentrification pressures. And that's something that deeply concerns me as a girl who was born and raised in this city that is something we are working so hard to mediate because we want to keep this city the beautiful city it is and we don't want anyone to leave it who doesn't have to."
Mayor Schaaf adds that the housing shortage is a Bay Area regional problem - not an Oakland-specific problem. "The Bay Area added half a million more jobs between 2000 and 2014 but built only a little more than 50,000 units of housing."
Schaaf says the City of Oakland has adopted impact fees so the new buildings going up are paying into an affordable housing fund. She also says the city is making it easier for homeowners to create secondary units as a second source of income. The city is also ramping up their inspection programs to make sure vulnerable tenants are living in safe conditions.
Oakland has a plan to protect 17,000 families from being displaced from their affordable housing units but also to build 17,000 units at every income level. Right now there are 2,000 units under construction.
Search for Chief
A professional search firm has been retained. Mayor Schaaf says there will be a news conference to discuss the public engagement in the search. There will be some youth only forums. There will also be an online survey for people who can't attend public meetings. Dates will be announced soon.
Mayor Schaaf has long been a supporter for a new ballpark for the A's in the Port of Oakland right next to the ferry landing in Jack London Square. "This is something I have been advocating for and I'm very excited. This is very early stages, I don't want people to get too excited." She engineers are going on a technical tour of the site. Schaaf says this isn't the only site the A's are looking at but they are only looking in Oakland. "We are going to keep our A's in Oakland."