Given how often I cite the exorbitant cost of living in this neighborhood in this column, you’ll be happy to know that 94110 did not place on this Business Insider list of top 20 most expensive zip codes for renters in the nation, though surprisingly, SoMa did. And that’s actually not all. Bubble-popping rumors continue to abound, with this week’s grim (or hopeful depending on your stance) predictions coming from USA Today and Curbed.

The former insists that the slowdown is here now, on the basis that investors are skittish and valuations are dropping – despite the fact that LinkedIn, with one of the biggest drops in stock prices, has actually continued to grow in the same time period. Curbed looked at the housing side of things and observed that the market for ultra-luxury homes may be slipping a little, but that this doesn’t necessarily indicate we’re about to see another wave of foreclosures.

So perhaps it’s all still just talk. Sort of similar to the talk that the city is building massive amounts of new housing. Housing is certainly being planned – SocketSite reports that there are 62,000 units of housing somewhere in the city’s planning pipeline.

That sounds good, but just because a project is in the pipeline does not mean it will get built soon. Some projects in that pipeline are on a time scale marked in decades. Only about 8,700 units are already under construction and actually expected to be completed within two years. And if I understand correctly, the 8,900 below-market-rate units SocketSite reports represent just 14.4 percent of the total planned, which is far, far short of the city’s stated goal of keeping 30 percent of the city’s new housing affordable.

Still, Socketsite reports, the number of homes for sale in San Francisco, especially condos, is climbing, with supply even outpacing demand. And that might not even be taking in to account the $2 billion unlisted market – as Curbed reports, roughly a quarter of homes sold in San Francisco are never even listed.

Perhaps this would be an interesting context in which to think about the state Legislative Analyst’s report that indicated that areas with high construction tend to see less displacement.

The Washington Post asked several Bay Area experts to weigh in on that notion, and they had mixed reactions: Some said of course, rich people coming in will outcompete poor people trying to rent the existing housing. Others criticized the report for failing to distinguish between the effect of construction in areas where land is easily available and areas where it is not – and, most notably, that the area has consistently met local demand for luxury housing, while falling far short of the demand for affordable units. Read the full arguments here.

While cities in the Bay Area continue to wrestle with the problem of what to do for the supply of homes (rental or owned), they are also still tasked with finding a good approach to short-term rentals. After a ballot measure failed last year that would have made local short-term rental laws much stricter (despite the $8 million Airbnb dropped on that election), San Francisco’s office tasked with enforcement continues to plod along. The office has enforced on just a fraction of the number of short term rentals that a hotel industry study indicates are likely illegal under city law. Now, Inside Bay Area reports that Danville has done what San Francisco is apparently unable to do and simply banned short-term rentals outright.

But in this case, the ban has nothing to do with the local fear that short term rentals offer incentives to take apartments off the rental market. No, in Danville, an estimated 20 or so people do short-term rentals, and the neighbors are upset that having strangers in town so often causes problems for the “small-town atmosphere.” I suppose it remains to be seen whether enforcement of such a ban is just as problematic as local laws have proven to be.

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  1. Socketsite is perpetually bearish. Adam will overwhelmingly cherry pick bad sales because he missed the boat a decade ago, and again during the recent downturn.

    The best place to buy is on the western side of SF ie Golden Gate Heights with panoramic ocean views.