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San Francisco to Vote on Affordable Housing Bond

A ballot decision in November will determine whether San Francisco can sell $310 million in bonds to pay for affordable housing. The proposal coincides with Mayor Ed Lee's campaign for re-election.
August 28, 2015, 8am PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Jorg Hackemann

It's no secret that housing is particularly unaffordable in San Francisco. "The median asking price for a San Francisco one-bedroom apartment is $3500, $400 more than in New York, the second most-expensive city, according to a report this month by Zumper, an online listing service. In June, the median price of a home was $1.14 million."

Widespread dissatisfaction with those astronomical prices will have political fallout. "Mayor Ed Lee, under pressure to deal with the soaring cost of living as he runs for re-election, is backing a partial fix: a $310 million debt sale to build affordable housing that will go before voters in November."

"If approved by two-thirds of voters, the bonds would be used to advance Lee's effort to build and renovate 30,000 homes over the next five years."

The proposal contradicts a downward trend in municipal debt sales to build housing. "It may revive interest in the bonds as mayors from New York to Seattle seek to add homes for lower-income residents as real estate prices climb."

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