November 14, 2013

Census Bureau Survey Says: San Francisco Has The Highest Rents

According to the U.S. Census Bureau's latest American Community Survey, the median monthly rent being paid for an apartment in San Francisco was $1,463 at the end of 2012, the highest in the nation.

Second place goes to San Jose at $1,441 month, followed by Boston ($1,260), Washington D.C. ($1,236) and then New York ($1,187).

Of the 376,653 housing units in San Francisco, 58 percent (217,452) are occupied by renters with 38 percent of those paying more than 35 percent of their household income in rent.

At the same time, the average list price to newly rent an apartment in San Francisco is currently $3,226 a month, up 18 percent over the past year with the average asking price for a studio in the city over $2,400 a month.

First Published: November 14, 2013 9:30 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

Let's see: median effective rent is $1463, while median market rent is $3250 and now the highest in the country.

This means that the tenant in this situation is paying 45% of market rent.

Add that to the fact that 58% of housing units are occupied by tenants, and you have a recipe for a never ending litany of self-serving attempts at preserving the status quo.

They have created the perfect Frankenstein monster, eating the young, the elderly, the disabled, the poor, etc...

Posted by: lol at November 14, 2013 9:59 AM

I'm confused about what the first commenter is trying to say about the Ellis Act, which is used to take rental units out of the market. How does trying to keep more, older rental properties in the rental pool raise the average rent?

Posted by: Adam at November 14, 2013 10:21 AM

I hope the poverty pimps et,al are happy with our new top status.

"....preserving the status quo".

Let's see....could any of these items effect rents in SF?
Millions in soft cost to get a housing project started.
Years of public hearings and appeals to get entitlements.
NIMBY's.
Tenants Union activist.
High construction cost for materials and labor.
Local hiring policies.
Housing Action Coalition activist.
Voter initiatives.
Did I mention the Poverty Pimps in city hall?
Uhm....Rent control.
Building owners keeping units vacant waiting for the last rent controlled lifetime tenant to die or leave so they can sell their property.

Oh wait and let's not forget these words immortal from the Tenants Union chief PP, Ted Glickson "...it's those greeedy landlords..."

Posted by: Keepitup at November 14, 2013 10:27 AM

Did I say that in my post, Adam?

I said that the Frankenstein rental market is creating situations like Ellis evictions.

Or maybe there's a subtext that you are the only one to see there.

Just to say: rent control is the original problem. Now we're stuck with 2 entrenched sides with no "win-win" outcome. In the end property rights will trump tenant rights because of the Ellis act and people will get hurt.

Posted by: lol at November 14, 2013 10:28 AM

I'm not saying rent control isn't an issue. But the rental market is driven by supply and demand of existing stock. And demand far far out strips supply. The Rent vs Buy equation along with continued low interest capital is having a significant impact on the city. This situation has existed in NYC forever. And now Brooklyn is officially on fire. People say parts of Queens are now experiencing a boon.

SF is still in the early cycle here, although, it remains unclear how this will play out long term. Unlike NYC where the financial institutions cause a never ending supply of wealth, its not clear if the bay area has the ability to pump out tech riches in perpetuity. I remain unconvinced there is anything substantial in the pipeline behind Twitter. But there are enough singles, doubles and triples in the pipeline for the foreseeable future. Interesting times.

Posted by: eddy at November 14, 2013 10:55 AM

We're Number One!
We're Number One!
We're Number One!

Posted by: NoeValleyJim at November 14, 2013 10:56 AM

"I remain unconvinced there is anything substantial in the pipeline behind Twitter."

Square, Dropbox, Airbnb, Uber are all looking pretty stable at this point. That should be more than enough for 2014. And after that, who knows?

The other thing that's important to remember is that it's not necessary for new companies to IPO every year to sustain this market. We just need the ones who have IPO'd to remain profitable. I'm betting that Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter are all going to be going strong in 5 years, if not still growing.

Posted by: OMN at November 14, 2013 11:03 AM

^I would add Lending Club as well. It's flown a bit under the radar, but is expected to IPO next year. The most recent funding showed a valuation in the $2.5-3 billion range, which I would expect will be in the $5 billion range by the time they decide to IPO.

Posted by: anon at November 14, 2013 11:11 AM

eddy,

You could have said that in 2004 when GOOG went public. What was next, right? Same thing when AAPL delivered the first iPhone. That's the top, right?

These companies are now worth multiples of what they were at the time of the supposed "top" event.

More important than IPOs are what happens in the following years IF the company delivers big time.
They hire talent, tons of it, to perpetuate the success cycle.

The wealth and revenue that was in only a few dozen people's hands moves to 100s, then 1000s of people. These companies keep growing, spreading wealth and business further and further.

Yes, FB and TWTR's IPOs probably have their own impact today, but their potential long term impact will spread over the next decade and possibly even further. And the people who got rich with these ventures will create the next generation of tech products.

Posted by: lol at November 14, 2013 11:15 AM

"They have created the perfect Frankenstein monster, eating the young, the elderly, the disabled, the poor, etc..."

I tell you one group it is crushing is a growing family like mine. Kid #2 on the way do you live like you are in the 1920's in 900 sq/ft that is 65-70% of market now or just leave the City? Because moving on up to more space is now impossible

All the while you have neighbors with

a) an empty room full of junk
b) full dining areas
c) a house in Sonoma
d) a 14K/mo pension
e) rent half yours with 50% more space

All the above in different combinations describes some of my neighbors. True story

Posted by: Zig at November 14, 2013 1:57 PM

Eliminate rent control, and things will get a tiny bit better. That's right, a tiny bit at best. (I'm for phasing it out, by the way - NYC has greatly weakened it's rent controls, and it hasn't made a dent.)

Look to NYC and MA for evidence of the effect on rents, there's plenty.

It's supply and demand of a)housing units, and b) money.

Posted by: Frank C. at November 14, 2013 2:52 PM

@ Zig: I fail to see what is wrong with any of the items you mentioned, from a to e.

Why should this matter to you at ALL since ALL of those items are personal and PRIVATE choices that some humans make?

Choices c and d simply smack of jealousy and envy.

Now, you may not like those choices and that could be subject for another discussion, otherwise, they don't concern you.

Would you prefer we turn into Communist China, where the state dictates almost every aspect of your life?

And, in all honesty, the City may not be the place for you and your growing family. But it is for some. Many of my neighbors on my block have 1-3 kids and 2 cars and they own their house, or have recently purchased.

I don't particularly have a solution, except to say that we all know it takes a substantial income to live here. You can read what you want into that.

And moving out of The City to a more affordable (and larger place) for a growing family is not altogether a bad thing.

Posted by: Futurist at November 14, 2013 3:07 PM

Zig's take is that rent control tenants can favor people with the means to pay more.

Everyone's free to do whatever they want, but rent control allows some to do stuff with OPM

Posted by: lol at November 14, 2013 3:20 PM

Well, I didn't get that take at all. He may have been trying to imply that, if so, the meaning is well disguised.

Posted by: Futurist at November 14, 2013 3:31 PM

A new low for Futurist - claiming that removal of rent control takes us one step closer to Communist China.

Because um, the status quo must be more market-oriented than removal of laws, no?

Posted by: anon at November 14, 2013 3:36 PM

LOL. Ah, actually no. I didn't use the words "rent control" in any part of my comments, nor did I imply it.

Focus. Focus.

Posted by: Futurist at November 14, 2013 3:39 PM

anon and futurist in the same space. Hold it right there.

{goes for popcorn}.

OK, you can start one of your legendary pointless feuds now.

Posted by: lol at November 14, 2013 3:40 PM

Zig's post was quite obviously talking about rent control, and then you complained that fixing the items on his list would be going the way of Communist China. Pretty clear that you meant that doing away with rent control would be becoming Communist China.

(And after all, your constant recommendation for the city to force developers to build more parking than they'd like is pretty communist. All comrades should be required to purchase a parking space!)

Posted by: anon at November 14, 2013 3:45 PM

So funny. Futurist seemed to think that Zig was just jealous of folks who have more and better toys. What Zig was pointing out is that he has rent controlled neighbors who have more and better toys BECAUSE of rent control. People who are over-consuming precious SF real estate (and under paying for it).

I could be one of those neighbors. Thinking of buying vacation property. Paying a paltry percentage of my income on rent. "Trapped" in a nice rent controlled unit.

It's an f#$ked up system. It should go.

Posted by: curmudgeon at November 14, 2013 3:47 PM

Well, I guess it is kinda funny, curmudgeon, how we all read various things into other comments.

I guess. But:

1. Zig did not use the words rent control either. I did not "pick up" his take on rent control.

2. I did pick up on his feelings that living here in SF with a growing family is difficult and expensive, and I agreed with that.

3. His comments about neighbors have a,b,c,d,e things somehow implied to me that those neighbors having those things was preventing him from moving up to an affordable and larger place for his family. Maybe that's not what he meant.? I didn't see the connection.

And anyway, why not let Zig answer for himself?

I've got the popcorn ready. But I'm busy now watching Walter White mix up a batch.

Posted by: Futurist at November 14, 2013 3:57 PM

I thought it was pretty clear that Zig was the effects of rent control. That would be the only reason he was living "in 900 sq/ft that is 65-70% of market now".

Posted by: Rillion at November 14, 2013 4:07 PM

Everyone else got my intent and Futurist you didn't.

We are "stuck" in our small place because it is cheap and now that we need more space we are kind of screwed and likely will leave SF

I believe in a normalized market there would be an apartment for us to rent in SF.

Rent control seems to me to favor most often people who never move on in their lives, never need more space and is a total disaster for growing families. My wife and I are decently well off so I am not crying that much over this but rent control has pretty much precluded any family formation for locals of moderate and modest means unless they want to live in mom's basement.

The end.

Posted by: Zig at November 14, 2013 4:34 PM

Listen zig. I'm sorry I didn't "get" your intent, but I didn't. and honestly, I really did not follow your thought process at all about other neighbors "having" those things you mentioned.

But please don't be offended by what I have to say, but:

You say you are "decently well off" and yet you are "stuck" in your small space and "kind of screwed and will likely leave SF"?

Well, then that may be a viable choice. But help me out here. How are you "kind of" screwed?

So all of SF is no longer affordable, or just the "desirable" neighborhoods?

Anyway, best of luck, I hope you can stay in SF.

Posted by: Futurist at November 14, 2013 4:45 PM

"Square, Dropbox, Airbnb, Uber are all looking pretty stable at this point. That should be more than enough for 2014. And after that, who knows?"

Theres also 6 biotech IPOs in the bay area this year

Posted by: moto mayhem at November 14, 2013 6:34 PM

rent control should only be allowed for those making below the median for the city. I know a couple who make about $600K together. They live 1 block from the Marina Green, have a $130K sailboat, a house in tahoe, 2 luxury cars, and pay $1900 for a 3 bdr 2 bath townhome with a water view. They have been there for about 15 yrs. I like them and like going to their house, but that place would go for $7000/month if emptied today.

No one who amke over $75K should be able to take advantage of rent control. Without rent control, the average market price would drop from 3200 to 2500 (at least)

Posted by: moto mayhem at November 14, 2013 6:43 PM

I agree. Rent control should be connected to the actual verifiable income a tenant or household makes.

And I think $75k should be the max for any ONE person to earn to be in a rent controlled apartment. If they can't afford market rate at that income, then get a roommate, or two, and pay the going rate.

Posted by: Futurist at November 14, 2013 8:11 PM

Glad I had that big bucket of popcorn with me. But anon did not even need to fight his way to the win. I guessed he figured the very clumsy contraption would fall under its own weight. Anyway, not as entertaining as fluj vs. Lmrim or fluj vs. Tipster but good stuff nonetheless.

Posted by: lol at November 14, 2013 11:31 PM

Yeah, I've lost 20 pounds since the days of the fluj v lmrim & fluj v tipster popcorn binges.

Rent control benefits can also be distributed by pure luck. I lived in 3 rent controlled apartments but never ended up staying for more then 5 years (various things caused me to move: OMI, fire, bought a place). If I had been able to stay in the first place, I'd be paying less than $2000 for a ~1500 sq ft, 3/2 with 1 parking space on Fell St.

Posted by: Rillion at November 15, 2013 12:18 AM

Zig, if you are relatively well off, you might want to consider buying a place. I know it is a huge commitment and no one can see the future, but it usually works out well for most people.

And then you don't have to worry about the vagarities that Rillon mentioned.

Posted by: NoeValleyJim at November 15, 2013 7:59 AM

To further NVJ's point, you might consider buying a place AND keeping your below-market rental. Just airbnb it as long as you can get away with it, then fight in court your landlord's efforts to end the tenancy and make him buy you out. All by the rules that have been established.

By the way, we lived for 13 years in a 1000 sf 2BR, 9 of those years with two kids (we owned it). It was great, and we lived essentially free (less than 3% of my gross income). Finally moved into a 4BR house two years ago. Living in the smaller place was not like the 1920s at all - we lived well and I was able to sock away a really nice retirement due to the low housing expenses and then fully fund the kids' college and put the downpayment on the new place on the gains from our sale. And we felt very good being able to contribute pretty significant sums to various charities. I'm happy with our new place, but we were equally happy in our smaller place. Having more room is not really the formula for happiness or satisfaction in life.

Posted by: anon at November 15, 2013 8:21 AM

I am in a pretty small place right now as well and really like it. The only slight downside is having one bathroom. I imagine that this will not work out so well once the two daughters are teenagers. I grew up in a household with 8 kids (including three teenage girls) and one bathroom, so I do know that it can be done but mornings were always hectic.

My wife wants a bigger place though and I want her to be happy so we are probably moving to Glen Park.

Posted by: NoeValleyJim at November 15, 2013 8:33 AM

Yes, I know the bathroom drill (we also have two "tween" daughters). We had 1 1/2 baths in our old place, and that 1/2 bath extended our time there for years! And our move was also driven by my wife, and she means more to me than housing issues.

We all like the bigger house (basically the same neighborhood, which we also like). I'm just saying that life can be great in a place the size of Zig's, and I would not have made the move unless the financial impact was really minimal (in our case the mortgage/tax outlays nearly tripled, but we're still at about 8% of gross income). There is more to life than an extra bedroom and bath.

Posted by: anon at November 15, 2013 8:40 AM

"Zig, if you are relatively well off, you might want to consider buying a place."

We tried in SF but are 0/8. We are well off in terms of the old sense like we are decent average white collar workers who make 250K/yr as a couple with a 20% downpayment but in the new SF we aren't really in the game we realize. We don't want to live in the Sunset, Parkside or Sunnyside we have decided so that is just our choice but are most certainly priced out from Glen Park and Bernal Heights. I am uncomfortable with the Mission for various reasons even though we could sqeak into a SFH across from the projects perhaps.

"you might consider buying a place AND keeping your below-market rental. Just airbnb it as long as you can get away with it, then fight in court your landlord's efforts to end the tenancy"

This is totally unethical and I would never do this to my landlord who is a very good man. He has never raised our rent and gave us a parking spot for free. We have a local Catholic school connection.

Regarding staying, the place is barely 900 sq/ft and the second bedroom is very small plus no dinning room. There is just no way as we have a storage unit now with a 2-year old and my clothes are in her room.

Posted by: Zig at November 15, 2013 10:51 AM

Zig,

Why is it you rate Glen Park and Bernal higher than the Sunset, Parkside, or Sunnyside? I can see where Bart riders would like Glen Park but not Bernal. Also, Glen Park and Bernal have so many different micro-hoods within them are you specific to some of them or you just like those for some reason I don't get. Also, Sunnyside near Bosworth is basically Glen Park, so why not Sunnyside?

Posted by: Dave at November 15, 2013 11:05 AM

I should have put the caveat that we are relatively well off compared to the median income in the area not to the median buyer or the median Socketsite reader who surely makes much more per year.

My post is really about rent control and not my situation but honestly the school lottery system is the other main factor in why we will move. I know schools are getting better but my brother and many friends went through SF schools and the current system doesn't foster a strong community sadly. I know one group of 3 siblings where each kid went to a different HS and one went to two HS. People I know who grew up in SF seem to have fewer long term friendships with people because they always came and went. It is a tougher way to grow up IMO although SF certainly has benefits too especially if you are of either great means or no means. I am starting to feel like staying would be more for my wife and me than our kid(s)

Posted by: Zig at November 15, 2013 11:06 AM

"Also, Sunnyside near Bosworth is basically Glen Park, so why not Sunnyside?"

Yes we have looked in this area and the prices are pretty high for dumpy places but if the right place came up we would have bought there.

Other parts of Sunnyside are not very walkable and it is a bus to BART.

At a certain point in many SF areas if it sort of like living in the suburbs except it is foggy, the schools are difficult to sort out and you have to pay more for a small attached house.

So it is just a trade-off thing for us. We were close to buying a place on the edge of Parkside/West Portal. It was a 2/1 and in nice shape. 1050 sq/ft and it went for over a million. Although we could have afforded that it seemed like the most expensive place to ever sell in that area on a per sq/ft basis as far as I can tell. I am not sure a 2/1 is worth it to me. West Portal Ave looks no different to me than the commercial St in San Mateo and it is foggy all summer. The only plus is the Muni is right there

Posted by: Zig at November 15, 2013 11:19 AM

Well, after finally getting more of an update from Zig, and his particular situation, I simply have this to say:

You say your post was "really about rent control and not my situation."

Well, you certainly did share a LOT with us about your particular situation. I appreciate your take on AirBnB, and I agree. It is completely unethical.

And now that you shared more (you didn't have to) about income, dislike for certain SF neighborhoods, and your take on public school, I now have zero sympathy for you.

And you actually said you felt "screwed". wow.

Posted by: Futurist at November 15, 2013 11:24 AM

Zig, have you considered outside SF?
It strikes me that SF has become both more expensive and less interesting in the past 2 years, at least for my tastes - and after 7 years here find myself much less an "SF or no where else" person.
Even if one can afford SF, how many people actually think it offers good value for money given the living costs? In other words, even if one can afford the price doesn't necesarily mean that we should all be paying it...

Posted by: The Grim REPa at November 15, 2013 11:32 AM

"And you actually said you felt "screwed". wow."

Well, he makes far far more than the SF median income, but yet due to prop 13, rent control and other artificial supply restrictions he can't buy a modest house in a nice area.

So yes, he is getting screwed by all these regulations.

Posted by: anon2 at November 15, 2013 11:36 AM

Okay I get that, but my main question is What is the Bernal draw/Glen Park draw above the other spots.

Posted by: Dave at November 15, 2013 11:37 AM

The Grim REPa

I like both Albany and Alameda but commuting and access for two working people is a challenge. We are moving though yes. My only point here is with more normal rents we would likely stay in SF for another 3-4 years by just renting a bigger place like people are able to do in normal cities.

Dave: I think the access to BART is a big draw in Glen Park and the ability to walk and proximity to the Mission in Noe in Bernal plus sunshine

Sunnyside is not very walkable and a lot of the houses are depressing and small (not that Bernal doesn't have a lot of weird places too)

Posted by: Zig at November 15, 2013 11:54 AM

@ anon2:
Well, your take on that is certainly one point of view. I disagree.

"Nice area" is a loaded definition. Nice areas ARE expensive, because they are DESIREABLE. Demand drives UP the price. If one cannot afford a "nice area", then you just can't. Period. Stop whining.

The "rougher" or not so nice areas can only become nice areas by people moving into them at lower prices and working hard to improve them.

With no offense to anyone, it gets back to this classic SF belief of entitlement: the entitlement that I should be "allowed" to live in SF, no matter what my income or situation.

If you can't afford to live here, then you just can't. Change your income, your outgo, your situation or try moving out of The City.

Posted by: Futurist at November 15, 2013 11:55 AM

"Nice area" is a loaded definition. Nice areas ARE expensive, because they are DESIREABLE. Demand drives UP the price."

This is getting silly. I am sure everyone gets your elementary analysis. The areas in question are also expensive because people are hoarding way below market priced space. This is a FACT. It is also a fact that this is causes very bad outcomes for certain groups of people and favors other groups of people. It is indisputable.

Posted by: Zig at November 15, 2013 12:07 PM

"What is the Bernal draw/Glen Park draw above the other spots."

There are certainly other neighborhoods out there and it's possible for neighborhoods to improve.

But as I've said before, an unappreciated side effect of these policies that lock up the housing supply and cause turnover in SF to be very low is that it makes it harder than it should be to improve neighborhood quality. Because if only a very small fraction of houses go up for sale in an area you aren't really raising up the whole area by paying a high price for one of these few houses. You can just end up paying a high price for a low end area.

In a more normal market, high priced sales spur other sellers (and landlords) to try for those higher prices. And either high end buyers come in and make it a high end area or they don't and the added supply causes prices to settle at an appropriate level.

In fact the difficulty of adding to the supply of nice areas is a big art of the reason that NV, GP and BH are priced so highly.

And while people on here sometimes complain that builders ignore the middle end of the market and only target the luxury segment. I think this concern is misplaced and the real focus should be on making it easier to make existing neighborhoods more desirable. Homes last a long time and older homes are just fine for many people.

People greatly overpay for shiny new construction compared to the value it provides. But that's their choice to make and why shouldn't builders target a market that has people who are less price sensitive. Today's new construction becomes tomorrows used construction.

Much of the solution for mid end housing should be improving existing areas.

Posted by: anon2 at November 15, 2013 12:10 PM

Ok, well, look Zig. I understand your situation and I'm sure you will work it out.

But I still do not GET nor understand your statement about people "hoarding way below market priced space". I cannot fathom how that has to do with the cost of housing for you to purchase.

Hoarding what??

Seriously, I don't get it.

Posted by: Futurist at November 15, 2013 12:27 PM

Yes, there's plenty of hoarding in SF. Basically people climbed the easy ladder 20+ years ago and are making it very difficult for the next generations to do the same as they did.

Yes, I am calling it "easy" because the cost of entry 20 years ago was 1/2 of what we have today. everyone had to work to get what they got, but nothing compared with what the new kids have to go through.

Prop 13, rent control are the 2 main reasons for this hoarding. Because of these silly shortsighted laws, it is "You move, you lose" for long timers.

Posted by: lol at November 15, 2013 12:48 PM

Cry me a river.

A big one.

Posted by: Futurist at November 15, 2013 12:54 PM

Far from crying, futurist.

I got mine too, purchasing every 2 years, collecting rent, etc...

But I know hoarding and preventing future generations from doing what I do is shortsighted.

Then again, who am I talking to? It's futurist against the world these days.

Posted by: lol at November 15, 2013 1:00 PM

Blaming any previous generation for how "hard" life is now, in any capacity, is simply short sighted an myopic.

I remember some of my friends 25-30 years ago complaining that they would NOT pay $185k for a Noe Valley fixer upper: "Just not worth it, so overpriced."

They're still renting today.

Every generation will find obstacles and challenges, and those who succeed will move ahead, grow and learn and create their own path to success and a good life.

Posted by: Futurist at November 15, 2013 1:07 PM

Geez Futurist, you really, really don't understand the impacts of rent control and prop 13 if you have to ask such basic questions.

Posted by: anon at November 15, 2013 1:07 PM

"Blaming any previous generation for how 'hard' life is now, in any capacity, is simply short sighted an myopic."

Well, let's try a few hypotheticals. One generation puts in laws that freeze their own property taxes at a rate that will result in their grossly underpaying compared to later generations (but all get to enjoy public benefits despite the disparities in taxes). They also put in laws that freeze their own rents, resulting in tighter supply and artificially high rents for future generations. They also put in place laws that guarantee themselves high retirement payments and benefits that future generations will pay for but which cannot possibly remain in place when those future generations reach retirement age because of simple actuarial principles.

Wait, those are real laws, not hypotheticals! But I guess it is "myopic" to point these facts out.

Posted by: anon at November 15, 2013 1:33 PM

Yes futurist, things were already hard 20 or 30 years ago.

That's the lot of every home buyer. The first years you think you've bought too much house, got into too much debt. Then time and life happens and you're more comfortable.

My point is not this basic truism. But the fact that things are artificially much tougher due to market distortion. A middle class family shouldn't have to compete with 10M+ net worth individuals for average older houses. So many single elderly people live in 2500sf when everywhere else in America they'd have scaled down.

Posted by: lol at November 15, 2013 1:36 PM

Sure they should have compete, with ANYONE. That's the free market system. If they can't afford to live here, then move somewhere that they CAN afford. Jeezus, how complicated is that?

And the so called "single elderly" can do whatever the hell they want with their own house.

Stop trying to social engineer San Francisco.

Posted by: Futurist at November 15, 2013 1:43 PM

Wow, this thread is too funny. Futurist with his own equivalent of "Keep the government out of my Medicare!"

Posted by: anon at November 15, 2013 2:14 PM

Well, actually you're the funny one anon.

And lets be clear, within this thread we are ONLY talking about housing costs in San Francisco, one SPECIFIC subject matter.

Unless, of course, you choose to bring up ALL governmental controls ever in place in the entire solar system, as relevant to this one subject, and the pro/con discussion of those controls.

Which they are not.

Posted by: Futurist at November 15, 2013 2:23 PM

Yes, we're talking about SF housing costs, which are severely distorted by prop 13 and rent control (and entirely local phenomenon). You claiming that this is a "free market system" is just as absurd as crazy Fox News interviewees claiming that the federal government should stop messing with their Medicare.

Posted by: anon at November 15, 2013 2:25 PM

So, for futurist, eliminating rent control is communist China, and letting free markets work in the SF RE market means social engineering.

Wow, I forgot to buy popcorn today, and almost regretting it. I guess pistachio will have to do.

Let's remind futurist of a few basic points:

Prop 13 = Social Engineering
Rent control = Social Engineering
Free markets = markets without rent control or prop 13

Posted by: lol at November 15, 2013 3:07 PM

One other thing to try and understand how someone can have such a** backward logic.

Seeing generation after generation of wealthier and wealthier people bidding up property around you can make you forget that your property gained value not because of your intrinsic qualities, but because other people simply want what you have after you happened to get them.

I'd compare it to a Saudi royal who thinks he is the source of all wisdom in the world because whatever he says and does, he'll always get richer and richer. Realizing the truth would be too depressing, then why bother.

Posted by: lol at November 15, 2013 3:14 PM

I guess you haven't followed my comments over the past few months.

I have said, in writing, here on SS: I support eliminating Prop 13 AND eliminating ALL rent control in San Francisco at the same time.

Don't forget: Prop 13 tax increases ONLY apply to the new buyer of an existing home. And if they can buy a house in SF, they can also pay the property taxes.

Eliminating rent control, will, in the short term, POSSIBLY, open up more rentals available, at market rate prices. But the supply will not go up dramatically to suddenly flood the market and make tons of rentals "affordable".

I'll say this again: San Francisco will never be inexpensive. It will never be affordable to "everyone" who chooses and desires to live here. We have only so much land, and, for the most part, our neighborhoods will remain low density, and small scale because they are an essential part of our architectural and urban culture.

New mid-rise and high rise housing will never get cheaper. I support this type of new housing in carefully zoned areas, where appropriate and near transit corridors.

With that said, I want, like many others who are here now and will move here, to have this city remain the unique and special place it is to live.

Posted by: Futurist at November 15, 2013 4:31 PM

OK, that was a successful factory reset, futurist.

Posted by: lol at November 15, 2013 4:37 PM

Wasn't a reset.

Was a refresher.

For you.

Posted by: Futurist at November 15, 2013 4:42 PM

Good to see you've seen the error of your ways and changed your tone, Futurist. You were sounding downright communist earlier in this thread.

Posted by: anon at November 15, 2013 4:49 PM

so many contradictions, so little time

Posted by: lol at November 15, 2013 4:55 PM

And so many people here who typecast, and do not READ clearly other's comments.

But then, I'm not going away, just yet.

Maybe you learned something today. But I'm not sure Zig gets any of this, but I do wish him the best.

Posted by: Futurist at November 15, 2013 5:13 PM

I was reading your comments in this thread quite clearly. Apologies for not assuming that you didn't really mean what you said in this thread, and that we should instead focus on what you've said in other threads. I'll remember that from here on out.

Posted by: anon at November 15, 2013 5:30 PM

Futurist is losing it in front of everyone. Speaking of other threads, that one where he went off on one poster because he, futurist, didn't know what the term "aids movement" meant, was rich.

Posted by: Anon at November 15, 2013 6:06 PM

Semantics, words, Anon are important.

I take them seriously. Perhaps you should too.

IMO, and many others, people never called it an AIDS "movement".

It was an "epidemic". Not a movement.

Deal with it.

Posted by: Futurist at November 15, 2013 6:41 PM

Who cared? Check thine self. Then, and only then, castigate others. It is amazing to me that you purport to be a gay man on here. Yet not knowing what "AIDS movement" meant? Clearly, you haven't been involved in anything philanthropic, ever, in your life. Whoop dee doo. You bought in noe when the timing g was good. Don't try to take role of prophet, guy: You simply, don't get it. And if i were you, i'd shut up. Because your practice is far from inspiring.

Posted by: Anon at November 15, 2013 11:18 PM

It is not just by happenstance that people who bought 20 or 30 years ago are reaping their rewards today. Thirty years ago, San Francisco was a city in serious trouble, like a Cleveland or Memphis today. Crime was high, population was declining and white flight was in full effect.

Some of the earliest "urban pioneers" moved to San Francisco. Many ended up starting the Gay and Lesbian movement and fixed up the broken down and sometimes boarded-up homes in The Castro and Noe Valley. Others were freaks and hippies attracted to The Cities reputation for tolerance and counterculture.

Many of the people who moved into San Francisco then helped lead an urban renaissance that is just now coming into full flower. So some of their gain is the result of their "sweat equity" in building communities that could clean up the crime, improve governance and fix up the housing stock.

So it is not all just the blind luck of being born at the right time. I reject that claim. I have my issues with the Boomers and have mentioned them before, but some of that wealth was absolutely earned, especially here in San Francisco.

Posted by: NoeValleyJim at November 16, 2013 12:31 AM

Zig,
What do you think you would pay for a 3/2 rental in Bernal or Glen park? If you don't mind.

I am just wondering about the dynamics of that size unit vs. a typical 2/1. With the BMR trigger higher now I wonder if it makes sense for builders to make some of these.

Posted by: Dave at November 16, 2013 8:01 AM

I'm amused by all of the mentions of "communist China." I just returned from China, and Beijing is a Socketsiter's wet dream in terms of high rise housing development. Modern high rises as far as the eye can see. Connected by 16 new subway lines (which are amazingly efficient, and cost just 30 cents a ride in an otherwise very expensive city) built while SF has been working on our one little subway to Chinatown.
A colleague lives in a complex of eleven 23-30 story new apartment towers, which charge $4k-$5k/month rent for a 2-3 bedroom apartment--practically NEMA pricing, but on a much larger scale. If you think SF has been gentrified since the 1970's, go to "communist" China, where the old hutongs have been bulldozed for hundreds if not thousands of Milleniums, Infinities, 1Rincons, and NEMAs.

Posted by: Dan at November 16, 2013 9:39 PM

Here's a pic of one such apartment complex: http://www.palmsprings.cn/english/images/exam/ap1.jpg

Posted by: Dan at November 16, 2013 9:41 PM

Hey Dan, that for sure get my vote for 8 Washington and/or Seawall Lot 330.

Wow this is great

Posted by: contraian at November 17, 2013 9:24 AM

"Thirty years ago, San Francisco was a city in serious trouble, like a Cleveland or Memphis today. Crime was high, population was declining and white flight was in full effect."

On both sides of my family my parents had siblings who stayed in SF and lived middle class lives. Although there is a small bit of truth to what you say this is a huge exaggeration for all of SF and comparing SF to Cleveland is odd.

"So it is not all just the blind luck of being born at the right time. I reject that claim."

Ok all of it isn't. But that house my parents bought in San Mateo for 68K in 1978 that is worth 1 million now? Was that some of that "wealth absolutely earned" through some sort of "magic" renaissance that they brought forth or that is all just dumb luck?

I also don't recall any boarded up homes in Noe Valley when I was a kid in the 1980's.

Your narrative is all revisionist. When did you get here?

Posted by: Zig at November 18, 2013 10:00 AM

I mean for crying out loud my uncle was a corporate lawyer and bought his house in Noe Valley/Liberty area in the mid 1970's

I am not saying things weren't more dodgy around the area but come on now. He wasn't living in the hood either.

I live in this area now and there are all sorts of older people who were clearly professionals who worked downtown

Posted by: Zig at November 18, 2013 10:03 AM

I moved here in 1989, but I have talked to locals and looked at things like the crime rate and income distribution data from BLS. Cleveland today has a very similar crime rate and income distribution today as San Francisco did in the 70s. The murder rate in 1970 in San Francisco was higher than it is today in Oakland!

Here is something I found online which supports what I said about boarded up homes albeit in The Haight-Ashbury. This is something that many old timers related to me personally when I lived there:

http://distractionsonhaight.com/http___www.distractionsonhaight.com/HISTORY_OF_HAIGHT.html

By the early 1970's the Haight was a deserted neighborhood with slum like conditions. The once grand Victorians were dilapidated and many were abandoned. The stores on Haight were mostly vacant with a few liquor stores , second hand funiture stores, and mom and pop groceries dotting the boarded up streets.

I have heard from other old timers that crime was bad in Noe and some homes in what is now called "Baja Noe" were abandoned. I also heard that many of the businesses in The Castro were empty or boarded up. But you were here and can remember otherwise, then I concede to your superior knowledge. Remember, I specifically said "sometimes" homes were boarded up, I did not state or imply that it was a common or frequent occurrence. I have seen homes boarded-up in Noe even today!

Here is a picture I found of the East side of Castro circa 1979:

http://thecastro.net/street/block.html

I see five or six empty store fronts. How many do you count?

-----

If your parents had invested $68,000 in the S&P 500, they would have done even better. I do think that the entire Boomer generation benefited from a growing economy and more middle class opportunities than Gen X or Gen Y or The Millennials have. They benefited from great opportunities financed by the taxes from older generations and they refuse to return the favor.

But I also think they saved San Francisco, or least the San Francisco we know and love today.

Posted by: NoeValleyJim at November 18, 2013 11:50 AM

"I see five or six empty store fronts. How many do you count?"

About a dozen. Oh wait, you mean in the photo? I was just counting from memory of when I was there a couple weeks ago.

***

Also, let's remember its 2013, not 2003. 1970 was over 40 years ago.

Posted by: Rillion at November 18, 2013 12:27 PM

Jim,

I am not claiming superior knowledge of this to you. I was raised in a suburb and of course wasn't that aware of these issues as a kid. I believe that the areas around the Western Addition were abandoned to some extent including the Haight because of the black population expanding and as you say "white flight".

I don't recall or believe that Eureka Valley the Mission or Noe Valley ever were all that abandoned but maybe to some extent they were. Other parts of SF had a huge influx of Chinese people starting in the early 1980's.

Regarding the investment in the S&P rerun that with 12K because they is what they put down on the house.

My point is only I don't think I give a lot of credit to people moving into San Francisco for the astronomical values today any more than I credit my parents with making San Mateo so valuable now. When we moved there our relatives thought we had moved to the sticks.

I think it is mostly proximity to other other forces, a successful transition from an industrial economy, a new found preference for human scaled living and access to transit(without anything like this built since 1940) among other things. People have a tendency to get lucky and look back in hindsight and feel they were just smarter. And yes I am jealous of you.

Posted by: Zig at November 18, 2013 4:41 PM

I do agree that luck has a lot to do with how things turn out in life. Maybe even fate. But this is not a blog about philosophy, so I will spare you all my opinions on this.

Posted by: NoeValleyJim at November 18, 2013 9:39 PM

Post a comment


(required - will be published)


(required - will not be published, sold, or shared)


(optional - your "Posted by" name will link to this URL)

Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)


Continue Perusing SocketSite:

« A Rush To Restrict Ellis Act Evictions And Buyouts In San Francisco | HOME | New Designs For Dwellings (And Retail) At Market And Sanchez »