Sorry folks: Prices are up citywide from last year despite all the bubble talk – though down overall since the peak. Median rent for a one-bedroom in the Mission is $3,300 a month. South Beach claimed the “most expensive” prize, with a median one-bedroom rent of $3,920.
The Economist called San Francisco’s housing prices the most inflated in the world. Maybe that explains why we have people paying $400 a month to live in a box (which firefighters have now deemed unsafe) or offers to rent a shipping container in the Bayview for $600 a month. Even tech workers are fleeing the sky-high rents, and even the Chronicle is saying we might not be able to build our way out of this one, and we might have already built enough at the high end.
So how’s that affordable housing production coming? One might say, glacially.
The city recently released its annual housing balance report, which tracks how much affordable housing is being built and lost. The city’s projected housing balance, meaning the amount of new housing that’s going to get built that is affordable, is expected to be about 15 percent – far short of the 30 percent goal the voters set when they passed the proposition that prompted this report. Also troubling is that some parts of the city not only fall short of the overall goal but actually have negative housing balance numbers, meaning they have lost affordable housing and not built any to replace it. Fernando Martí and Peter Cohen of the affordable housing development world explain more about how problematic this is in the Examiner.
In one example SocketSite pointed out recently, and Mission Local has noted previously, one kind of affordable housing in particular takes for ever. A land grant is when a developer gifts the city some amount of land deemed roughly worth the amount that developer would have to pay if they are not building their required affordable housing on-site. The developers of Vida on Mission Street did this with a site at 1296 Shotwell Street in 2012, and we’re looking at completion sometime in maybe 2019 or 2020.
Speaking of Vida and things taking a while: Three commercial spaces in the building’s ground floor are still completely vacant more than a year after completion, but someone is interested in moving in. A private elementary school in the Portola, Alta Vista, has plans to convert one of the spaces into six or seven classrooms for its middle school.
In something of a surprise move that to me means there must be more going on than meets the eye, short-term rental giant Airbnb said this weekend that they’re going to start investigating San Francisco hosts on their site that have more than one listing and removing them (since local law stipulates that hosts may only put their own primary residence up as a short-term rental). A few days later, the city released a report indicating that the majority of short-term rentals in San Francisco flout local law.
That news also comes on the tail of a series of Airbnb headlines over recent months, including that the company is going to start collecting feedback about hosts from their non-Airbnb neighbors, and that a small town in California is going to ban Airbnb rentals entirely (all 25 of them). Vancouver’s city council is also going to be taking a close look at the effect of short-term rentals on the long-term residential rental market in that city this week and will consider stricter laws, even though the city already prohibits short-term rentals by those who don’t have a bed-and-breakfast license.
And just to add on to things that are popular but unaffordable, here’s what’s going on in the food world:
Chicks & Love is coming to the long-vacant Rainbow Cafe adjacent to Rainbow Grocery. The couple, one of whom works at Rainbow Grocery, makes a variety of pizzas, including vegan and gluten-free options.
Judging by a notice in the window, Valencia will experience no net loss of Thai food with the departure of Castro-based Thai House 530, because its replacement is something called Bangkok Bistro.
Mystery (somewhat) solved at 16th and Valencia: The big empty space is set to become the Foodhall Market. Based on Planning permits for a food prep area, I assume it will be more or less your standard corner deli, albeit with a cleaner, chic-er interior where you can, according to their slogan, “Eat. Drink. Discover.” Except we can’t discover what exactly their deal is until they open, apparently, because there is no way to reach them and their social media is as blank as the freshly painted facade.
The former Lexington Club has now emerged from renovation. UrbanDaddy assures us “you’ll spend a lot of time here.” But judging by the classier-than-thou zebra upholstery, floral wallpaper and the overabundance of vermouth being served there, I rather doubt it.