Many people are relocating to Oakland because it is more affordable than San Francisco and yet close enough to enjoy its culture and amenities.
If you are considering moving to Oakland, the various costs listed below will help you make an informed decision on what costs are involved when moving and living in ‘the bright side of the Bay’.
Quick Oakland Facts:
- Population: 402,339 (2017 estimate).
- Official Language: English (de facto) with over 100 languages being spoken in Oakland, including Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Tagalog, various African languages and Arabic.
- GDP Per Capita: $66,790 USD (2015)
- Lake Merritt: Oakland is the only city in the world to have a natural salt lake actually in the city.
- Currency: US Dollar (US$). As of early 2017, £1 = $1.25, €1 = $1.08, $1 CAD = $0.75, $1 AUD = $0.77
1. Moving and Shipping Costs to Oakland
- New York City – $520+
- Los Angeles – $161+
- Canada (Vancouver) – $529+
- UK (London) – $1,468+
- Australia (Sydney) – $1,036+
- Ireland (Dublin) – $1,622+
- New Zealand (Auckland) – $1,603+
- Hong Kong – $1,075+
- Dubai – $2,910+
- Singapore – $1,973+
2. Oakland City Housing Costs
Property in Oakland is expensive, although not as expensive as San Francisco.
Monthly Rental Prices in Oakland
- 1 bedroom apartment in City Centre: $1,800+
- 1 bedroom apartment outside the City Centre: $1,500+
- 3 bedroom apartment in City Centre: $3,000+
- 3 bedroom apartment outside the City Centre: $2,450+
Oakland Home Purchase Prices
- Price per square metre (10.7 square feet) to buy in City Centre: $6,700
- Price per square metre (10.7 square feet) to buy outside City: $3,500
Oakland Housing Cost Comparison
This is how rents in Oakland compare with other cities around the globe.
How to Save on Housing Costs
- Share an apartment or house. Sharing a house or an apartment is a way to save on living expenses. You will probably have to share a bathroom but you will save at the end of the day. A cheaper option is to share a room. Have a look at the following sites to find your perfect roommate: Easyroommate, Kangaroom, Metro Roommates, Craigslist, Oakland Sublet and Trulia.
- Different areas – different prices. Like all cities upmarket areas attract high prices. Lake Merritt Park is one of the most expensive areas in Oakland and is situated around the lake. Piedmont Avenue has a variety of housing, from apartments for students to family homes and prices vary accordingly. Upper Laurel is an up and coming, reasonably priced area, which appeals to students, singles and young families alike. Rockridge is favoured by those who enjoy a commuter friendly area, however, it is expensive.
3. Oakland Food, Grocery and Restaurant Costs
Oakland has lots of restaurants in every neighbourhood. There is a wide choice, including Mexican, seafood, Italian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian and Thai.
- Inexpensive Restaurant: $10 – $20
- Takeout Coffee: $3.50 – $5.00
- Bottle of Coke: $1.50 – $2.00
- 1L of milk: $0.79 – $1.19
- Loaf of Bread: $2.20 – $3.58
- 12 Eggs: $2.49 – $4.00
- 1kg Chicken: $6.59 – $17.64
- 1kg Beef: $8.82 – $24.23
- 1kg Apples: $2.62 – $4.41
- 1kg White Rice: $2.18 – $5.51
This is how restaurants and food prices compare with other major cities in the world.
- London restaurants are 2.45% more expensive and groceries are 34.20% cheaper than Oakland.
- New York restaurants are 12.24% more expensive and groceries are 7.58% more expensive than Oakland.
- Los Angeles restaurants are 6.16% cheaper and groceries are 16.49% cheaper than Oakland.
- Toronto restaurants are 24.54% cheaper and groceries are 30.83% cheaper than Oakland.
- Sydney restaurants are 16.84% cheaper and groceries are 11.26% cheaper than Oakland.
- Paris restaurants are 9.29% cheaper and groceries are 18.03% cheaper than Oakland.
- Dubai restaurants are 25.58% cheaper and groceries are 35.58% cheaper than Oakland.
Bonus Tips for Cheaper Food, Restaurants and Groceries
- Know your supermarkets: Oakland has a good range of independently owned grocery stores, as well as the usual supermarket chains. There are also popular farmers’ markets and shops which sell health foods and organic foods. Popular supermarkets are KP Asian, Farmer Joe’s, Piedmont Grocery and Ratto’s
- Find Cheap Eats: With a little bit of effort you can find places which offer excellent food at affordable prices. Have a look at Serious Eats, TripAdvisor, Four Square, Zomato and Oakland Local.
4. Oakland Alcohol Costs
Oakland has a good selection of bars and nightclubs, from basic bars to sophisticated cocktail lounges.
- Pint (0.5L) domestic beer at a restaurant/pub: $5.00 – $8.00
- Bottle of imported beer at a restaurant/pub: $6.00 – $8.00
- Pint (0.5L) domestic beer at a supermarket: $1.50 – $3.00
- Bottle of imported beer at a supermarket: $1.25 – $4.00
- Mid-range bottle of wine at a supermarket: $12.00 – $18.00
How to drink for less in Oakland
- Keep an eye on the local papers and websites for specials over weekends and public holidays.
- The Lake Chalet has happy wine at $6 a glass and $3 beer. Bar 355 have happy hour from 4-8pm and offer $1 off all well drinks, $3 Stella and $2 high life. Have a look at the following sites to find other bars or clubs may appeal to you – Four Square, Drinkowl, Thrillist, The Oakland Beat, Happy Hour and Yelp.
5. Oakland Transportation Fares
Many people drive to and from work in Oakland as the roads don’t suffer from quite the same rush problems as other Bay area cities. However, for those who would rather use public transport, here’s some information.
BART covers the rapid transport system in the whole Bay Area and there are 8 stations in Oakland. AC Transit operates the bus system in Oakland which serves the city and takes commuters through to San Francisco.
There is also East Bay Ferry which ferries commuters from Oakland to San Francisco.
Here are some example ticket costs.
- Adult Single – $2.25
- One day ticket – $5.00
- Monthly season ticket, unlimited – $75
How to save money on public transport
- Buy a Clipper Card and get various discounts depending on your age and the distance travelled.
- Buy a bike. Depending on where you live and work, cycling around the city is certainly an option to consider.
- If you live relatively close to where you work, you can walk to work.
6. Cost of Internet in Oakland
Internet prices in the States are expensive compared with many other countries in the world. Here are some sample broadband internet prices from early 2017 for unlimited downloads, based on a 12-month contract:
7. Cost of Clothing, Personal Items, Gym and Leisure
September is the hottest summer month, with an average daily high of over 70°F (21°C). December is usually the coldest month with an average low of 43°F (6°C) and an average high of 55°F (13°C). The wettest month is January with an average of 5 inches (116mm) of rain.
Here are some clothing prices, together with other useful prices.
- Pair of Jeans: $40 – $65
- Summer Dress: $25 – $39
- Running Shoes (Trainers): $60 – $100
- Business Shoes: $90 – $200
- Short Doctor’s visit (15 mins): $70
- Deodorant: $3.50
- Shampoo: $5.43
- Toilet Paper (4 rolls): $2.45
- Gym membership: $30-$95 per month
- Movie (cinema) ticket: $10.50-$13
8. Cost of Owning a Car and Driving a Car in Oakland
Driving in Oakland is nowhere near as frustrating as in many major cities around the globe.
If you’re moving to Oakland from within the US, you’ll be able to keep your license but need to update your address to your new one.
You can drive on a foreign license for up to 12 months as a tourist but after that you will need to get an American license. If you are working or studying in the US, you can drive on your foreign license for 30 days. If you want to exchange your foreign driver’s license you have to follow the process here.
Here are some other sample costs of owning and operating a car in Oakland:
- Volkswagen Golf: $22,165
- 1 litre (¼ gallon) of gas (petrol): $0.75
- Other fees (if any): The average cost of state and local taxes, license, title and registration fees is $665 per annum
Ways to save money driving in Oakland
- Car sharing or pooling is one way to save money. Try Carpoolworld, eRideshare, Gocarma, and Ridenow.
- Taxis can sometimes be a cheaper option, especially if you are going to have to park all day. Try Uber or Lyft.
Need your car/vehicle moved to Oakland? Then read our guide to: Car Transport & Vehicle Shipping
9. Taxes in Oakland
Sales Tax in Oakland is 9.25% and is added to most goods and services. Generally, the price you see on an item does not include sales tax.
If you own your home, you will be subject to property tax based on the area in which you live and the size of the property you live in. Learn more about property tax in Oakland at Property Tax.
Finally, if you decide to buy an apartment or house in Oakland you’ll have to pay real estate transfer tax.
10. Flight Costs from Oakland
If you do make the move to Oakland, here’s approximately how much it will cost to fly to other major world cities based on lowest, one-way fares from Skyscanner as of early 2017:
- London: $229
- New York: $137
- Los Angeles: $47
- Toronto: $189
- Vancouver: $99
- Dubai: $321
- Sydney: $502
- Melbourne: $545
- Cape Town: $790
- Hong Kong: $539
Other Oakland Relocation Tips
The costs and pricing above should give you a good idea of the cost of living in Oakland but perhaps the following extra tips will make your move go smoothly.
11. Relocating to Oakland Alone
Moving anywhere can be a lonely experience, but moving to a new city can be especially daunting. Here are a few tips to help you settle in
- Meetups: There are many Meetup groups to choose from. You will definitely find something to join which will help you to settle in. There’s plenty to choose from – data science, sleep late and hike, cyber security, singles group and so much more.
- Attend local events:There’s always lots going on in Oakland. Have a look at TripAdvisor, Visit Oakland, Motovo and Atlas Obscura.
12.Moving to Oakland with a Family
Oakland has a lot to attract families. There are beaches, the lake, hikes, art, drama, music and social events.
- New parents (or parents to be): There are free and paid antenatal classes and courses. Have a look at Then Comes Baby and Birthways.
- Live in a family friendly area: The best schools in Oakland are in the Lamorinda area and this is a favourite area for families. It has a wide choice of housing and lots of green space. Other family friendly areas include Piedmont and Albany.
- Find things to do with the kids: Oakland has a lot to offer families. Have a look at the following sites to be inspired – 510 Families, Family Days Out, Trekaroo and Tripbuzz.
13. Moving to Oakland for Work
People generally move to a new city for work. While it is possible to move without a job, it makes sense to ensure there are jobs in your field before you make the move. The main employers in Oakland are the construction industry, healthcare, education, wholesale retail and trade, commerce, food processing and the port.
Here are a few things to consider when moving for work:
- Salary: Salaries vary enormously depending which industry you are in. The costs we outlined above should give you a rough idea, how much more you’ll want to be making to make the move worthwhile. You can also check salary ranges on sites such as Glassdoor and Oakland.
- How to find work: If you want to have a job lined up before you move to Oakland, but aren’t sure where to begin, the following sites are good places to start: Monster, Indeed, Snagajob, Craigslist and Careerbuilder. You may also want to google recruiters in your industry, as they can often help land you some initial interviews as well.
14. Moving to Oakland from Australia
If you want to join the Australians already living in Oakland, here a few things to consider.
- Size comparison: If you compare the population size of Oakland with a city in Australia, then the closest would be Canberra.
- Join expat groups: There are a number of expat groups enabling you to meet fellow Aussies. Try Meetup and Internations.
15. Moving to Oakland from Canada
There are many Canadians living and working in Oakland. If you’re considering making the move from Canada here are a few things to consider.
- Size comparison: If you compare the population size of Oakland with a city in Canada, the nearest would be St. Catharines.
- Expat groups: Meeting up with fellow Canadians helps the moving process. Link up through sites such as Internations and Meetup.
16. Moving to Oakland from the United Kingdom
Oakland attracts a lot of people from the UK, probably partly because the sun shines.
- Size comparison: If you compare the population size of Oakland with a city in the UK, the closest would be Bristol.
- Expat groups: If you want to get together with others from the UK who are experiencing the sun then go to Internations and Meetup
Hopefully, the tips and costs above are helpful. If want to get started pricing out how much it will cost you to move to Oakland you can start by comparing moving quotes here.
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