Our question this week stimulated concerns by several of our readers that gentrification is indeed changing the face of Oakland. They feel that gentrification is spiking housing prices so that many in the middle class can longer afford to live in the city.
While one respondent cheered the changes, as they would only increase the value of his home, others worried that the resulting spike in home prices and rentals would drive working class folks out.
“Our incomes remain modest while the cost to survive continues to increase. One cannot ‘opt out’ of housing without becoming homeless, so the ever-increasing cost of housing can almost be likened to extortion,” this respondent wrote. “Oakland laws have definitely improved to benefit tenants, which is great, and we continue to try to help in that effort. Thank you for this survey. I don't know how working-class families who are being displaced could possibly cope well under these circumstances; we are middle-class professionals and feel like we are merely subsisting.”
Another respondent said only the fact that she bought a house several years ago is how she’s still living in here in Oakland.
“I’m stable, bought a house at the bottom of the last crash. I’m concerned that friends and loved ones are or will be trapped in bad situations (rent control means you can never dare to move) or be forced to leave the region.”
Several others agreed.
“If I lose the rent-controlled apartment that I've lived in since 1991, I would have to leave the Bay Area and possibly the state due to my living on a fixed income.”
“Yes, I'm concerned I'll have to leave Oakland after living here since 1986. If it weren't for rent control, I'd already be gone. I'm retired, have low income, etc. And, I'd hate to leave! Love Oakland, love the lake, walking everywhere, etc.,” another said.
Our final respondent said he, too, has his home to thank for still residing in the city.
“Luckily I bought my home in 2009 when housing prices were very low. Although I live in a less desirable East Oakland section, I think my home has increased significantly in value. But for now, there is no chance of my being forced to move -- barring some unforeseen crisis.”