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San Diego Doubled Housing Units Downtown and Rents Still Increased

San Diego invested $1.5 billion in tax increment to increase housing in its downtown but displaced affordable housing with unaffordable housing. Housing planner, developer and advocate, Murtaza Baxamusa gives some answers and asks some questions.
March 3, 2017, 10am PST | wadams92101
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Jerry Horbert

Between 2000 and 2015, the number of housing units in San Diego's downtown doubled—from about 12,000 to 25,000—and so did rents. More than half of downtown's renters spend above 30 percent of their income on rentthe common benchmark for "unaffordable." Ironically, the vacancy rate has doubled but it is not attributable to a lack of renters. Rather it is attributable mostly to an increase in the number of vacation homes. Thus, it appears that the public resources that went into the downtown redevelopment project, in large measure, have subsidized luxury residences for the well-heeled and reduced downtown San Diego's affordable housing stock. On the other hand, median rent in the rest of the city has caught up to downtown so that that now the downtown area isn't significantly more expensive than downtown. However, however even that fact bodes poorly for non-wealthy renters who aren't just being driven from downtown but have fewer housing options anywhere in the city. Baxamusa cites additional data and includes charts to further demonstrate the disturbing correlation. He concludes:

The intent of this post is to spur a discussion of the affordable housing stock in downtown, and particularly to focus on why new construction is not keeping pace with the removal of the affordable housing stock in San Diego. 

For more of Baxamusa's analysis, please read the source article. 

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Published on Tuesday, February 28, 2017 in UrbDeZine
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