As an actual condo owner in Jack London, I hope to offer a different perspective than the realtors. With the current market conditions it's a good investment if you plan on calling the area home. There is a lot of development planned in the area etc. Huge upside in the next 5-10 years. However, if you are looking to flip or get out in a year or two you won't be making $$. There is plenty of inventory and I am sure you know what's going on with properties throughout the country. Still I think you get so much more bang for your buck than in the city...sqare footage/amenities etc. At the end of the day you are only 15 min from SF. Good luck.
Most newspaper articles on housing are not news at all. They are advertisements that are disguised to look like news. They quote heavily from people like realtors, whose income depends on separating you from your money. Their purpose is not to inform, but rather to get you to buy. When you see an statistic that says everything is fine, look at the source. Is it from someone who needs you to believe in the housing market so that they can take your money?
The number one problem is that not all tenants pay their HOA fees (condo fees). You can definitely get a great property, that is huge, etc, but if people continue to default on their HOA fees, it is a problem. If there are foreclosures, that is also a problem because your fees will increase. For instance, my condo fees went from 178/month to 394/month. If you can afford a loft, why not get a single family home and make it your space completely without the worry of non-payments and how that will impact you. Having said that, Jack London is experiencing similar things: i.e. there is a condo on the water and i saw a unit with less than 700 sq ft and the condo fee was over $500/month and believe me there is nothing spectacular that they are offering for that amount. I saw another AMAZING loft closer to downtown Oakland and it was 1300 sq ft, but they were in a dispute with the builder so it is all over the map, but if you can afford to buy now not concerned with fees rising until the market picks up than go for it! But there are areas in neighborhoods that are in transition that might be more worth the money...... But whatever you do, don't fall into the "you need to buy now" trap.
I would definately do your homework on this one! Or better yet, have your Realtor do it for you. There are a lot of lofts going up around Oakland, from Jack London to downtown, it seems every corner you turn these days there is a loft project being built. I agree with the other folks who mentioned that you should consider how long you want to own the property and if it will be for investment or residence. As with any real estate investment in the current market, I would advise only buying if you plan on sitting on it for a few years. We aren't seeing the rapid appreciation that we were a few years back. But don't let that discourage you, cause in any market there are ups and downs, if you can hang in there through the downs then the ups are so worth it!
I believe it definitely is. Oakland/Jack London square is a very desirable area in itself, and is the 2nd choice for many who want to live in San Francisco, but cannot afford to. Young, hip urban professionals
in particular are very keen on lofts in the JLS area. It is convenient to BART, Alameda, the City and Berkeley, with all the cultural events, nightlife, and great restaurants.