It has been a week full of revelations on the housing front, but before I get into that, let’s take a moment to consider that rents have dipped, again. At least that is what Curbed reports based on an overview of realty sites’ estimates of asking rents at currently vacant apartments.
Also, while fur often flies in the world of San Francisco housing and planning, opponents of market-rate housing and YIMBYs alike were finally able to agree on something. (A couple NIMBYs did show up, but where there are backyards, there are people telling you not to put things in them, so that was almost a given.) The project everyone liked? Senior housing at 1296 Shotwell.
And plans have been drawn up for the 143 affordable apartments and arts space on 16th and Folsom Streets. How nice, right? Even at this somewhat ostentatiously modern, brand new zigzag construction, an entire 1.5 bedroom condo is going for a mere $772,000. Parking lot views and easy McDonald’s access included.
And hey, if you gotta live in a teeny apartment because you can’t afford anything bigger but happen to have buckets of money left over for robot furniture, this company that makes shapeshifting robot furniture is planning a rollout (there’s a Transformers joke in there somewhere) in San Francisco in 2017. I know this company didn’t start in SF, but the idea that you might have enough money to buy a tiny studio and furnish it with enormous bed bots seems like such a San Francisco thing.
Plus, look, a nicely renovated park!
Okay, back to less cheery things.
There may have been one point of agreement, but activists on both sides of the housing debate butted heads again over this 184-unit project proposed for 15th Street. At issue: Advocating for more affordable housing versus advocating for more supply to ease demand as fast as possible.
Like they said at the meeting: Everyone can pretty much agree the problem is the cost of renting or buying here. But there are still disagreements about how, exactly and specifically, that happened.
One contentious piece of that thematic puzzle has long been California’s Prop 13, which limits annual property tax increases. Trulia studied the effects of this on comparative effective tax rates. Basically, because of how much home prices have flown up in San Francisco and other expensive cities, long-time homeowners in San Francisco and Palo Alto are paying a lower “effective” tax rate than people who bought homes in less expensive areas a long time ago.
Not entirely surprising news, but Curbed put it in perspective for us: San Franciscan homeowners were collectively spared $447 million in taxes, just last year. Trulia also calculated that statewide, Prop 13 kept $12.5 billion in taxpayers’ pockets and out of California government’s hands last year.
Of course many also argue that housing costs are so high here because the region has not built very much in the last decades. Here is one (admittedly outlier) reason why some housing units in the Mission won’t get built: The vacant site where housing was planned was deemed historic and the project went from 28 to four units due to resulting building restrictions. Now, it’s gone down to zero.
Another about-face by Airbnb, this one from the East Coast: The homesharing platform dropped its lawsuit against a New York law that allows the city to impose fines on illegal Airbnbs, the New York Times reports. The catch is in who takes the fall for scofflaw short term rentals: NY agreed – as part of the settlement – to only go after hosts, and not Airbnb.
Finally, a fire investigation into the blaze at 29th and Mission streets this June has been released that indicates the fire was most likely accidental, possibly the result of cigarette butts discarded in some trash cans on the roof of the Cole Hardware building.