April 9, 2012

Market Rate Development On Track In SF, Affordable Housing Isn’t

As determined by the state Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) and the regional Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), the current Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) calls for a target of 31,193 housing units to be built in San Francisco between 2007 and 2014.

With 7,826 market rate units having been produced from 2007 to 2011, market rate production is at 95 percent of the RHNA goal to date with a final goal of 12,315 units, 40 percent of the total RHNA target, by 2014.

With 4,500 affordable units, including those deemed to be affordable for those with household incomes up to 120 percent of the area median, having been produced from 2007 to 2011, the production of affordable housing is at 36 percent of the RHNA goal to date with a final goal of 18,878 units, 60 percent of the total RHNA target, by 2014.

It's Two Years Later And Time To Adopt San Francisco’s Housing Plan [SocketSite]
Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) Production to Date [sfplanning.org]

First Published: April 9, 2012 9:30 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

If you just read the comments on this blog, you'd come away believing that The City has been doing nothing but wasting money and time thwarting the creation of market-rate housing in favor of below market rate housing, but the actual result is just the opposite.

From the Bay Guardian Online tuesday, San Francisco's loss:

San Francisco is increasingly losing its working and creative classes to the East Bay and other jurisdictions — and with them, much of the city's diversity — largely because of policy decisions that favor expensive, market-rate housing over the city's own affordable housing goals.

…Census data tells a big part of the story. In 2000, the median owner-occupied home in San Francisco cost $369,400, and by 2010 it had more than doubled to $785,200. Census figures also show median rents have gone from $928 in 2000 up to $1,385 in 2010 — and even a cursory glance at apartment listings show that rents have been steadily rising since then.

I certainly don't think that median household income in SF doubled between 2000 and 2010, even given the influx of higher-income, highly mobile top one percenters and the concomitant displacement of working class households. The story goes on to discuss the findings of a new study by the Budget and Legislative Analyst, commissioned last July by Sup. David Campos, which reached similar conclusions regarding new housing:

A big part of the problem is that San Francisco is building plenty of market-rate (read: really expensive) housing, but not nearly enough affordable housing. The report Campos commissioned looked at how well the city did at meeting various housing construction goals it set for itself from 1999 to 2006 in its state-mandated Housing Element—the plan called for 7,363 market-rate units, or 36 percent of the total housing construction, with the balance being housing for those with moderate, low, or very low incomes. Developers built 11,293 market rate units during that time, 154 percent of what was needed and 65 percent of the total housing construction. There were only 725 units built for those with moderate incomes (just 13 percent the goal) and just over half the number of low-income units needed and 83 percent of the very low-income goal met.

I've been thinking for a while, with nothing really to support it, that developers like to build all these luxury, luxe and überluxury units, and that if certain city policies that people like to complain about as being sins against the almighty free market were to disappear tomorrow, it wouldn't necessarily increase the number of affordable units because developers and owners would just do more to target the top of the income distribution.

Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at April 12, 2012 3:02 PM

^Depends on which policies that you're talking about. If we were somehow able to eliminate the city-wide height limit, we'd likely see some not so luxe housing being built.

As it is now, so few parcels can even accommodate new housing that any that can have their land prices bid through the roof to the point that only luxury units pencil out. To get this right, we'd really need to do it ALL at once, to eliminate the value capture that folks do now by sitting on land and hoping for a jackpot heigh increase/zoning variance/new neighborhood plan/etc.

Likelihood of this happening? Zero.

Posted by: anon at April 13, 2012 8:09 AM

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