San Francisco Emerges From a Housing Slump

John Wildermuth discusses San Francisco's bounce back from a tremendous slowdown in new housing construction last year.
May 23, 2012, 11am PDT | Ryan Lue
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A new study from the San Francisco Planning Department reveals that 2011 was not kind to those looking for housing in the city. Over the course of the year, only 418 new housing units were constructed – accounting for demolitions and closures of illegal units, that's a net gain of only 269 units.

But Wildermuth notes that there's a silver lining. "Housing construction appears to be on the upswing. The Housing Inventory Report, presented to the Planning Commission Thursday, found that 1,998 units were approved for construction in 2011, 66 percent more than in 2010. In a continuing trend, 81 percent of that construction is in larger buildings of 20 or more units."

Luckily for low-income families, the majority of construction last year came in the form of affordable housing, much of which is exclusively set aside for those who earn less than half the area median income, or roughly less than $25,000 a year for a family of four.

"Despite the city's need for affordable housing, the percentage is likely to slip as construction heats up and higher-priced units become more attractive, warned Commissioner Cindy Wu."

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Published on Thursday, May 17, 2012 in City Insider
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