Latest data shows you can’t bring prices down by building more housing

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

When prices soften, developers stop building. So that plan isn’t going to work.

A Dec. 29 story by the Chron’s real-estate reporter, J.K. Dineen, who knows the market as well as anyone in town, shows exactly why the Yimby agenda will never work in San Francisco. The story dropped in the middle of the week when news readership is the lowest of the year, so I’m not sure how many policymakers saw it. But it has critical information about the way housing markets really work.

To wit: Developers now think that the market for condos and apartments is “softening” – that is, it’s not rising as fast as it used to – so they aren’t planning to build any more, except at the very high end.

In other words, you can’t bring down housing costs by removing barriers to more market-rate housing – because as soon as those costs come down, the developers (and more important, the speculative investors who finance them) put their money somewhere else…

“Everything that is going forward is falling above the $2,000 (per square foot) price point,” Garber said. Projects with a projected price of $1,300 or $1,400 per square foot are not worth it to developers, he said. “In the short term, we are not going to see a lot of those delivered.”(more)

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In 2018, San Francisco made choices. In 2019, we’ll deal with them.

By Joe Eskenazi : missionlocal – excerpt

It’s difficult to come up with a valediction for 2018, an overstuffed year that was to San Francisco political developments what Buca di Beppo is to portion size and sensible interior decor.

n short, there was so much loaded onto our plates that, by the time we were halfway through with one course, we’d forgotten what came only just before. There was just too much to get through; it left us all feeling a bit sick…

We made our decisions. In the coming year, for good or ill, we will live with them…

The board of supervisors likely hasn’t had this much potential leverage and power since 2001, following a progressive sweep of Mayor Willie Brown’s handpicked slate. It remains to be seen how this board will govern and what issues our legislators will take up, but this much seems clear — a majority of them owe Mayor Breed nothing…(more)

Industry experts and SF notables reveal which neighborhoods they broke up with in 2018

By : sfcurbed – excerpt

Canceled?

There’s much to love about San Francisco—and much to loathe. And to confuse neighborhood ire and frustration with flippant snark would be a disservice to our readers and to the city we adore so deeply. Which is why we’ve asked our handful of industry experts and local notables to thoughtfully weigh in on the areas of San Francisco they had enough of in 2018… (more)

Not many neighborhoods are spared from distain. Most of the least popular are south of Market with SOMA and Market Street leading the pack. Interesting to note that the least appreciated are the ones with the most construction and the worst traffic. Of course the idea that you could even stem the tide of traffic accessing the multi-billion dollar Bay Bridge was always a farce. Until it falls down, it will be the route of choice for connecting the populace to the city. Until the city authorities establish a fast and easy parking process for people driving across that bridge, they will drive across town or whatever it takes to park.

We know that the cost are prohibitive. What isn’t?  Our regional MTC and other agencies would rather spend the billions of a new headquarters than help people park to get out of the their cars faster once they arrive. This kind of backward thinking makes SOMA and other points near the bay bridge hostage in the game of traffic control.

 

Housing crisis plan discussed in luxury; Marin supervisor not sold on proposed solutions

By Richard Halstead : marinij – excerpt

CASA has three main objectives: to increase housing production at all levels of affordability, preserve existing affordable housing, and protect vulnerable populations from housing instability and displacement.

The committee has come up with 10 actions to achieve these goals: a just-cause eviction policy, an emergency rent cap, access to legal counsel and emergency rent assistance, removal of regulatory barriers to accessory dwelling units and tiny homes, minimum zoning for housing near transit, improvements to state housing streamlining laws, public land for housing production, streamlining of the local housing approval process, new revenue to implement the compact, and creation of a “Regional Housing Enterprise” to manage and allocate the new revenue.

Under the current version of the plan, taxpayers would contribute $400 million in the first year through a new quarter-cent sales tax and another $100 million by approving a five-year general obligation bond.

Property owners would contribute $100 million through a new vacant homes tax of 1 percent of assessed value and another $100 million through a new $48-per-year parcel tax.

Developers would contribute $400 million through two new fees linked to new construction. Employers would contribute $200 million through a new gross receipts tax and another $200 million through a new employee head tax.

Local governments would contribute $100 million through a 20 percent revenue sharing agreement from future property tax growth and $200 million through a 25 percent contribution from revenue set aside for redevelopment.

MTC critics are circulating a video outtake from a CASA meeting in October that has MTC’s Heminger saying, “I doubt that you could put five of these suckers on the same ballot and expect to pass any one of them. So I think No. 1 we’re going to have to be selective. No. 2, as I said earlier some of these may not require voter approval. That is indeed helpful if that is true.”

Hall said, “They’re boasting they can do this without putting it to a vote, and then they’re meeting at a luxury resort to talk about it. I find it counter to democratic values and transparency.”

Susan Kirsch of Mill Valley, founder of Livable California and a vocal critic of Plan Bay Area, said, “CASA is not a group that has had representation from community leaders.”.. (more)

Will our large city communities have to rely on the outlying suburbs and rural area legislators to protect us from the overly heavy hand of the state over our local planning and zoning and rights to determine our taxes? It is beginning to appear that that is the case.

Thanks to Assemblymember Damon Connolly for pushing back on CASA / MTC / Scott Wiener and SB827 one-size fits all policies. Note that this is one of many articles that expresses disapproval of the choice of venues for this CASA presentation.

 

Trash plan confuses SF supes, so they give themselves more time to digest it

By : sfchronicle – excerpt

A number of last minute amendments to complicated waste management legislation held up the Board of Supervisors’ Budget and Finance Committee for about three hours Thursday as the members tried to understand what was before them… (more)

Here we have a bad idea generating confusing over a confusing problem. Trash is really simple. The more humans and animals you have, the more trash you generate. Now that China is cutting us out of their recycle business, we have a lot more trash to deal with. The solution to less trash is less humans and animals.

 

Mayor London Breed’s huge political fumble on Prop. C

By Joe Eskenazi : missionlocal – excerpt

San Francisco’s mayor could have confounded and neutralized the city’s political left for years by embracing homeless measure Prop. C. Instead, she isolated herself, rejecting it with specious arguments.

Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.

London Breed is the mayor, and you are not. We have “takes.” She makes “decisions.” The mayor’s decisions carry weight. They are tangible…

So, make no mistake: Breed’s firm rejection of homeless measure Proposition C — a choreographed Friday announcement coming in lockstep with Sen. Scott Wiener and Assemblyman David Chiu — was a crushing and credibility-destroying decision.

This was rendered even clearer by Monday’s splashy announcement from Marc Benioff, the city’s favored benevolent billionaire, that he was going all-in on supporting Prop. C. The measure’s backers had, previously, likened themselves to David battling the Downtown powers-that-be Goliath… (more)

There are better places to live and work that have nothing to do with Prop C and taxes. Businesses have soured on San Francisco for the same reason we all have. A high cost of living should at least guarantee a high quality of life and San Francisco is not delivering. We are poor has-been version of a once great city and no one seems to know how to pull us out of a race to the bottom, or if they do, they are being ignored.

RELATED:

New study says rent control doesn’t discourage new housing

USC researchers say the data shows that Prop. 10 wouldn’t stifle housing production. That’s a direct challenge to the real-estate industry campaign

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

The landlord lobby – and it’s one of the most powerful interests in the state of California – is spending more than $40 million to convince voters not to support Prop. 10 – a measure that would allow (but not require) cities to impose effective rent controls…

The USC study, sponsored by the California Community Foundation, suggests that rent control tends to keep rents lower even in uncontrolled buildings, helps preserve housing and community stability – and has little discernable impact on the construction of new housing.

The study’s authors are not economists. The lead author, Manuel Pastor, is a sociologist. The two other authors, Vanessa Carter and Maya Abood, are urban planners.

But unlike the Stanford economists who put out a complex study on the economics of rent control, complete with equations that almost nobody can understand, the USC report looks at the existing literature on rent control… (more)

The market appears to be in a self-correction mood that could slow development regardless of how the outcome of Prop C and the repeal of Costa-Hawkins.

Grass roots opposition to SB 828 and AB 2923 mounts

By Richard Eber : capoliticalreview.- excerpt

Opposition within the legislature has been minimal in passing various bills intended to streamline the permit process to build so called affordable housing. However, not all the natives are pleased. Battle lines are being drawn in suburbia to fight “Big Brother” in Sacramento when they will be trying to enforce SB 828 and AB 2923 in the coming years.

It comes down to a case of “It’s not fair” that ordinarily refers to children complaining about their parents making them perform disagreeable tasks. Here it is reflected in a grass root political movement of outraged citizens fighting progressive government in Sacramento.

With the ink barely dry from Governor Jerry Brown signing SB 828 and AB 2923 into law, a similar out cry of protests is coming from communities throughout California. A lot of folks are upset by state taking urban planning decisions away from locals and giving them to unaccountable bureaucratic regional agencies they don’t directly vote for.

The purpose of these bills is to encourage the construction of much needed affordable housing by ignoring local zoning laws and streamlining the permit process. An outcry is being heard from cities who are unhappy with the impact these new construction will have on traffic, law enforcement, congestion, schools, recreational facilities and the availability of scare water resources… (more)