Affordable-rent demand could slow construction in SF, report says

By Emily Green : sfchronicle – excerpt

Requiring private developers in San Francisco to rent 20 percent of units in new apartment buildings at below-market prices would slow down construction of housing, the city controller concludes.

That finding will undoubtedly fuel the debate about how best to create affordable housing in the city, especially given that the current requirement is 25 percent.

The Board of Supervisors, however, has said it will revise that number based on a feasibility analysis by City Controller Ben Rosenfield. The draft recommendations released Monday are the strongest indication yet of where that requirement will fall.

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Among the conclusions:

  • New apartment buildings can rent a maximum of 18 percent affordable units before new housing is likely to be impeded. The idea is that the higher the affordability percentage, the less money developers will pay for the land. At greater than 18 percent affordability, the value of the land will drop to a level so low that owners won’t sell the land.
  • New condominium buildings can afford 20 percent affordability before new housing is likely to be impeded.
  • There is no indication that high-rise projects can absorb greater affordability.
  • Ownership projects are three times more likely than rental projects to pay the city a fee rather than include affordable housing on site. The city should increase the fee levels in order to give developers incentive to build affordable housing.
  • Conduct a feasibility analysis every five years that will influence the affordability requirements… (more)

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