From now until September 14th, families pursuing affordable homeownership are invited to submit pre-applications for brand new single-family homes in East Oakland. These homes are the first available under Oaktown Roots, a new “below-market rate” (BMR) homeownership development that is turning formerly abandoned properties into new homes.
Eligible households must have at least 3 members and household incomes no more than 120% Area Median Income (AMI) based on household size (e.g. no more than $139,450 for a family of four). Applicants who live or work in Oakland may receive preference points in the lottery process, but all interested and income-eligible households are welcome to apply.
The story of Oaktown Roots started decades ago when these property parcels started falling into tax default and abandonment. The history and reasons for abandonment varied from lot to lot. Some properties contained dilapidated structures that had fallen into severe disrepair and were eventually demolished by the City, leaving a vacant lot burdened heavily by code enforcement liens.
Others may have become tax-defaulted when a previous owner passed on, leaving the property to an unaware or unable heir, who stopped paying the taxes. These abandoned lots were offered for tax sale by the County, but due to excessive back taxes and liens, the properties remained unsold for many years, during which they became blighted from overgrowth and illegal dumping of all kinds.
With the mutual goal of returning these properties to productive use, the City of Oakland and the Alameda County Tax Collector teamed up with nonprofit organization Hello Housing to remove the liens and unlock a unique opportunity for affordable housing development.
Oaktown Roots represents the first new construction of affordable ownership homes available in Oakland since 2014. The first homes in the development are new construction, 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom single-family BMR homes priced below market at $475,000. Buyers of BMR homes agree to restrictions that limit how much they can sell the property for, which keeps the home affordable to future generations of income-qualified homeowners.
These new homes are built by local developer Presidio Realty Advisors, LLC using an innovative “green” building material called Gigacrete, which is fire-resistant, energy efficient, and resistant to mold and rot. Presidio Realty Advisors is also using Gigacrete in its collaborative efforts to help rebuild homes in fire-ravaged Sonoma County, where — as in Oakland — resilience is top of mind for city leaders and residents alike.
According to the City’s Housing Element, 65% of Oakland’s housing units were built before 1960 and 35% of units were built before 1940. A 2014 housing conditions survey conducted by the City found that nearly 25% of housing units needed repair or rehabilitation. The age and condition of Oakland’s housing stock bolsters the need for new construction techniques that resist damage from fire, earthquakes, weather and aging. The energy efficient design also promises to limit both monthly utility costs and each home’s carbon footprint.
Interested and eligible homebuyers must submit a pre-application by September 14th to be considered for the lottery.
For more information about these new homes and how to apply, visit www.hellohousing.org/oaktownroots or call Hello Housing at (415) 930-4112.