Developments in Development is a “weekly” column recapping real estate, housing, planning, zoning and construction news.
Apparently Bay Area home prices have barreled through yet another record. So reports SFGate, noting this is the fourth straight record-breaking month. This bit stuck out to me in particular:
“… limited supply, especially among lower-price homes, failed to keep up with demand…” Followed by a realtor telling the Chron “…there is a little bit more play in the new-construction market. In any of the resale neighborhoods, there is just no supply.”
So, the old problem: We’re building stuff, not a whole lot, but it’s either by design luxury or it’s just hard to build homes that are new but low-cost.
Okay, but plenty of people are renters and going to stay that way. Here’s a couple pieces from Curbed on that: Generally speaking rents are dipping (with some exceptions in the suburbs), which could be a temporary result of a pretty significant construction boom last year that has since petered out in San Francisco.
Sure, a veritable deluge of new apartments are ready to be built on paper, but that could take until 2040 according to Curbed. So if there’s, let’s say, roughly a year delay between a flood of new supply and prices appearing to come down, don’t hold your breath for affordable rent. And if the same rule applies to rentals as sales, since the city is still well behind its affordable housing production goal, well, good luck getting into one of those. While the prices are of course kept artificially ‘low’ through the city’s programs, no supply there just increases the competition, which in this case is decided by waitlists and lotteries instead of cash in the bank.
And long-term, San Francisco has added way way way more jobs than housing. Curbed reported on one estimate that had the ratio at 6.8 jobs per new housing unit, but when they did their own calculation based on census data 2010-2015, it was closer to 10 jobs for every new unit. Ouch.
To some degree you have to wonder about the kind of jobs being added, too, and whether those are jobs that allow the workers to live in the same town as their employer. Here’s a must-read from the Guardian about a family living in a garage in Menlo Park with two working parents earning quite good wages who are struggling to make it work.
The garage is attached to a relative’s home, which the relative was able to buy in days gone by with his earnings from landscaping work. Just observing how impossible that feels nowadays makes me believe we are far from out of the woods.
One fun update to finish off this slightly gloomy recap:
Neighborhood favorite Bi-Rite is gearing up to potentially put a cafe at Civic Center. The food and coffee options there at the moment are, um, eclectic, and the plaza is pretty dead most of the time.