Housing Watch

In Development

As stated in a seven point housing plan and reiterated in the upcoming Proposition K, Mayor Ed Lee’s housing goal for San Francisco include adding (or rehabilitating) 30,000 new units by 2020. Of those, 33 percent, or 10,000, are supposed to be affordable to low and moderate-income households.


To reach these goals, the city would need to build roughly 5,000 units of new affordable housing in the next six years—in addition to rehabilitating its stock of 4,575 units of public housing.


So far, San Francisco isn’t doing a great job of meeting its affordable housing targets, according to Civil Grand Jury Report that came out this summer.


How’s the affordable housing outlook in the Mission? On a slow burn. Since 2008, the Mission’s gotten 697 units of new housing, according to data compiled from the Planning Department. Only 95, or 14 percent, were below market rate ones.


The Mission could have as many as 1,700 new units built by 2020 to satisfy the need, according to the Mission Area Plan adopted in 2008 as part of the city’s General Plan. For a neighborhood with a high population of low and moderate income households, at least a third of that new housing should be affordable, according to the General Plan.


So, the Mission’s got a way to go to meet need. Meanwhile, lots of developers are planning projects in the Mission. By our count, there’s over 1,900 proposed new units in various stages of development—some from projects with just preliminary plans, some are under construction now. Of those, only about 15 percent—not 33 percent as prescribed by the General Plan—are likely to be below market rate units.


This page attempts to illuminate what housing projects are in store for the Mission and what’s been built so far.


Scroll down to see history of development projects in the Mission over the past 15 years, the balance of proposed affordable projects vs. market rate ones in the development pipeline, and the status of projects working their way through the Planning Department right now. We’ve also published a spreadsheet with the projects currently in the pipeline and proposed for the Mission.


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Data is compiled from the San Francisco Planning Department and the Mayor’s Office of Housing (Last updated February 2015). We made every attempt to make this page as accurate as possible, and will update when necessary. If you see anything incorrect or notice a project we missed, let us know by sending an email to: tips@missionlocal.com.

Projects Proposed, Projects Complete

Since 2000, developers have proposed at least 54 projects in the Mission. Since then, 16 projects have been completed. Our map below attempts to show the relative lifespan of a project from idea to completion. In several instances, you can see that it takes many years for a project to materialize. This map only shows recently completed projects and uncompleted projects with active plans. Since 2000, there’s some projects that have been proposed but were abandoned for various reasons that are not listed in our map.

    In the map below, each box represents one housing project. A blue box appears in the year a developer first proposed it. When it turns purple, the project has been completed. Use the slider to see change over time.
The Pipeline’s Balance

Nearly 40 different projects, representing more than 1,900 units, are in the works for the Mission. The map below shows you where these projects may pop up and roughly how much will be market rate housing and how much will be affordable. Some of these projects are nearing completion, some have been approved by planning, some are still very preliminary.


Each bubble represents one development currently in the pipeline. The size of the bubble approximates the relative size of the project. Blue bubbles represent market rate housing, while orange represent below market rate housing. Click and hover over each bubble for more information.

Status Report

Before a project can get built it needs: Planning Department approval, building permits and financing. The map below shows projects completed in recent years (16 since 2000), projects under construction (four), projects approved but awaiting construction (eight), and projects with only preliminary plans (25).


Each dot represents one development currently in the pipeline. The color corresponds to its current status. Click and hover over each bubble for more information.

Project List

Below you can see a list of active and recently completed housing projects. Use *Crtl F* to search for a particular address.


  1. Ricardo

    I really enjoyed reading this article. Lots of good useful information. I think we all have to remember that all units build and occupied are affordable units. If they were not affordable they would sit empty. $5,000 a month for a luxury two bedroom is affordable. The below market rate is screwing up the market.

    • Bob Evans

      They really should stop spinning the subsidized units as “affordable” Because they are not magically affordable. They just force someone else pay to for them, they are SUBSIDIZED !

      • Not necessarily subsidized. When a developer builds a large project, the city’s Inclusionary Program kicks in, requiring that at least some of those new homes be “affordable” — there are caveats to this. And “affordable” means the developer can only price them up to a certain level. For rental units, that level is 55% of the median income for this region — again, there are caveats. For example, if you, alone, snagged an “affordable” apartment this way, then the developer couldn’t legally price it higher than what an income of $37,350 could afford.

        But you’re right, some of the affordable housing is subsidized, such as the entire buildings of reduced-priced units owned and operated by nonprofit orgs.

        • Ian Smith

          >Not necessarily subsidized. When a developer builds a large project, the city’s Inclusionary Program kicks in, requiring that at least some of those new homes be “affordable” — there are caveats to this. And “affordable” means the developer can only price them up to a certain level.

          So subsidized by the developer, who can eat those cost or increase the price of the non subsidized housing, which means they are subsidized by the purchases or those units.

          Someone is paying for those affordable housing units, and whoever that is, is subsidizing the cost.

  2. Quite the article. It surprises me that completed/planned ownership units so vastly outnumber rental units. In a city where 2/3 of the residents rent, the Mission (once again) stands out. Property being as expensive as it is, I fear that few of the homes for ownership, especially those built recently, were priced for the blue-collar worker… if San Francisco has any of those left.

    • Ian Smith

      I too share you concern about pricing out people who live in this city.

      However, I think homeownership is great. I think in an ideal world most people would own homes not rent. You get all the value of appreciation, you have a vested financial state in your community, you are going to get evicted and lose rent control, etc. etc.

      Walk down any street street and you can probably pick out most homes that are owner occupied and which homes are renter occupied.

      The common complaint is landlords don’t care, and if that is true, we shouldn’t want to expand that group and instead of supporting home ownership.

      Now if we can support the dream of homeownership while not squeezing people out of this city, that is another story.

  3. Kravis Tappes

    Whats sad is the builders (some not all) building these units Are not worried about building them to be “affordable” where financially it is smarter for them to simply paying the fine to city for not meeting the affordable housing requirements and renting the units at or above market rate. If Ed Lee and the city really wanted to create more “affordable housing” the would change the laws or impose bigger fines for not meeting the requirements. The way it is now the city and the builders both stand to make money. the city gets there money immediately by the fines and the builder in the long term by raising the rents to above or at market and just paying the city its money for the fine. Its sad but true that what makes this city so great it’s diversity of class and culture is disappearing and soon will be a white collar city for the rich. The city is all about making the money and low to middle class people don’t have it to give.

    • Ian Smith

      I think the problem is not the fines, but the City’s inability to use that money to build affordable housing. Why can a home builder build a block of units in less time that the City, when the City should theoretically have an easier time with permitting, etc? What is so dysfunctional about the city that it’s can’t build housing even when being paid to do so? The Vida apartments on valencia are built and inhabited and the city still hasn’t broken ground on the affordable housing units the homebuild paid the city to build.

      It’s at the point where activist can’t even trust the city to build housing and are advocating that the home builder be responsible in lieu of the city.

      • Craig Weber

        Firstly, the Vida project is located on Mission St near 22nd, not Valencia.This was a completely corrupt deal by the developer, Supervisor Campos office and the dozen non profit organizations who extorted nearly $1 million in cash donations from the developer. The arrangement allowed the developer to build 100% luxury condos. I lieu of building affordable units on site, the developer donated land at 1296 Shotwell St near Cesar Chavez to build 100% affordable apartments in a proposed 9 story building. The current zoning allows a height limit of 6 stories. The building site is located in a very congested residential area on a narrow street. Residents on Shotwell St oppose the height and zero parking spaces planned on the site. There is very good reason to delay this project indefinitely until MEDA (Mission Economic Development Association) negotiates in good faith with the Shotwell neighbors to reduce the height and density of the proposed building. Until now, MEDA has not offered any concessions to Mission neighbors who will be directly impacted by this “Monolith” on Shotwell St.

  4. Leah !

    The problem isn’t whether the units are affordable, It’s who they’re affordable too (rich tech workers). The average resident who’s lived in neighborhoods like the Mission and Hayes Valley cannot afford to live here anymore. Let’s stop denying that gentrification is happening all around the city.

    • Ian Smith

      >The problem isn’t whether the units are affordable, It’s who they’re affordable too (rich tech workers).

      Actually, rich lawyers, rich trust funders, rich accountants, rich doctors, in fact anyone rich can afford these units.

      It’s so much easier to stick a label on a class and blame the troubles on them (some historic examples from our city: Chinese, Undocumentimagrants, Homosexuals, etc.) then it is to actually admit the fault lies with us. Long term residents of this city failed to support building housing in this city.

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