A guy just transcribed 30 years of for-rent ads. Here’s what it taught us about housing prices
Michael Andersen

Thanks Michael. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the issue of housing prices in the SF Bay Area and basically came to the same conclusion as you. We need more housing units. The human population is not going to stop increasing and we all need a place to live. It’s not an issue isolated to the city, it’s everywhere in the Bay Area. I grew up in the Bay and I love it but you shouldn’t have to be wealthy to live a reasonable lifestyle here. More and more folks are spending hours every day on the road, commuting from slightly cheaper outlying areas.

Can you imagine spending 2+ hours a day commuting? What about 4? Because I know people who do this every day. How can you have time for your family after that, much less time for yourself? How can you live a happy life? It’s unhealthy in so many ways.

IMO there’s a few blocking issues (really, societal issues) that we need to address.

  • DEVELOPERS ARE EVIL! Property development here is an incredibly slow process. And anything can delay or halt development. For example, in my old community there is a proposal called North 40 at the intersection of Hwy 17 and 85. The plan had released over 20 years ago but has been blocked ever since due to residents complaining that it would add to traffic and add too many “low income” housing units. You can’t even argue without being accused of “working for the developers”.
  • BUT WHAT ABOUT THE SCHOOLS?!? Hm… what about the schools? Increase the student capacity. Build more facilities. Hire a few more teachers. Population doesn’t stop growing, so it seems a damn shame that established communities with decent schools feel the need to force out newcomers.
  • BUT WHAT ABOUT MY HOME VALUE?? Home values go up because the incredibly static nature of the Bay Area housing supply. So yes, keep visiting your town council. Keep shutting down developments. Keep shutting out newcomers. It’s an incredibly effective tactic to keep the value of your home on the rise.

Of course there are other issues. Environmental issues, which I can’t necessarily argue against (except maybe when some frogs shut down a $68 billion bullet train project lol). Regulation issues, such as height limits. I can understand why we have limits near the airport but elsewhere? Let us build a few stories higher, or even get rid of the limits entirely. The Bay has never really experienced high-density housing but this needs to start changing. We maintain height regulations at the cost of people’s happiness. People deserve the opportunity to live closer to work and school, and as a side effect this would address the issue of worsening traffic.

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