Developments in Development is a “weekly” column recapping real estate, housing, planning, zoning and construction news.
I can’t wait to see what role this new tidbit will play in upcoming meetings about housing: San Francisco actually outperformed the entire rest of the state in terms of adding new housing in 2016.
This is a fascinating statistic that I’m sure will be interpreted two ways. On one hand, how can San Francisco be slow at building housing when we’re actually leading the state? On the other hand, California’s housing production is so abysmally slow that byzantine San Francisco, home of the years-long planning process, is beating the competition.
Thing is, you can have a long planning process and still come out ahead if after those years you actually build some housing. Unlike, say, Brisbane. Remember Brisbane? San Francisco threatened to annex part of it to force it to build housing? Well, better grab that popcorn, because this period of quiet was just the intermission and Brisbane Is Back.
The city is considering competing proposals for a swath of land previously used as landfill. One of the proposals includes no housing whatsoever, the argument being that the area is too contaminated to live on (but fine for office and retail space).
One might speculate, however, that new housing in Brisbane would be very popular. RentCafe suggests that rents have been dropping slightly in San Francisco and rising in the suburbs because people are starting to accept super long commutes and living outside of metro centers for the sake of less super crazy rent.
And yet. We seem to persist in churning out baffling stories like this one from the South Bay, in which a realtor has been leaving handwritten notes, for that extra personal, sincere touch, on homeowners’ doorsteps promising big payouts.
A different San Francisco drama appears to have finally come to an end: Airbnb has settled a lawsuit with the city of San Francisco, ending a years-long conflict over regulation of short term rentals. Lawmakers have been struggling with how to keep homesharing as an option for residents, without letting entire units slip out of the rental market and into the more lucrative short-term-rental one.
Within the next six month, Airbnb will require all listings to be registered with the city – register or you won’t be able to appear on its site. It will also automatically pass on the required city forms. So, how far will listings drop? And will complaints reporting illegal short term rentals drop with them?
One other city crackdown has come to fruition: The city attorney has prevailed in a case against notorious serial evictor landlord Anne Kihagi, managing to overturn some of her evictions, some of them in the Mission, and fining her $2.4 million. Kihagi has also recently been sentenced to a few days in jail in contempt of court in LA. Now let’s see if San Francisco manages to actually collect.