A Little Taller, A Lot Smarter
Mark Hogan

The fundamental problem with this story is that the basic premise which it is based on (the claim that there is a housing shortage) is completely false.

There is no housing shortage at all. Every US census (even during boom economic periods) shows that there are thousands of vacant housing units in San Francisco. The 2010 Census lists over 30,000 vacant units. And more recent numbers indicate that this has not changed.

The actual problem is that developers build luxury housing in order to raise the sale value of properties, and then quickly flip those properties for a profit based on those luxury unit values.

Note that for this to work it isn’t necessary for people to actually live in these buildings as long as they are continuously flipped without pause, based on their -predicted- value per unit. As a result of this, thousands of luxury units are simply left empty.

The true crisis in this city is that there is a lack of -affordable- housing because developers refuse to build it (because they can’t flip affordable housing properties for high profits).

This so called ‘Affordable’ Housing Density Bonus Program will not change that dynamic. The plan as written both allows demolition of thousands of rent controlled units, dramatically reducing affordable housing, and will also allow units that cater to incomes of $150k per year to be called ‘affordable’.

This so called ‘Affordable’ Housing Bonus will simply encourage more high end housing to be built and flipped, while tens of thousands of perfectly good homes continue to remain empty.

Eric Brooks

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