San Francisco is losing residents because it’s too expensive for nearly everyone – USA Today

SAN FRANCISCO — Social media influencer Sarah Tripp and her husband, Robbie Tripp, moved to San Francisco in 2016 brimming with optimism.

“We thought, here’s a city full of opportunities and connections where you go to work hard and succeed,” says Tripp, 27, founder of the lifestyle blog Sassy Red Lipstick.

But after a year-long hunt for suitable housing in San Francisco only turned up “places for $1 million that looked like rundown shacks and needed a remodel,” the couple packed up and moved to Phoenix.

They went from paying San Francisco rents of $2,500 for a one-bedroom, one-bath apartment that was far from shopping and other amenities, to purchasing a newly constructed 3,000-square-foot, four-bedroom, four-bathroom home where they’ll raise their newly arrived baby boy.

“It was cool to be living near all those high-tech startups,” Tripp says of her Bay Area years. “But you quickly saw that if you weren’t part of that, you’d be pushed out. It’s just sad.”

via USA Today

More housing is needed, will it be built?

Here’s one take:

“Stephen, you’ve been proven right on housing, and I think you’re about to be proven even more right. The most important driver of home prices is supply and demand. And right now, there is a chronic undersupply of homes in America.”

Census Bureau data shows an average of 1.5 million homes were built each year since 1959. Yet since 2009, just 900,000 homes have been built per year. In fact, fewer homes were built in the past decade than in any decade since the ‘50s!

We have a serious housing shortage in America today. It would take less than six months to sell every existing home on the market…

The Biggest Housing Boom In History Has Just Begun
Stephen McBride, Forbes

How a Tuxedoed Sommelier Wound Up Homeless in California – The New York Times

California, the country’s wealthiest and most populous state, also has the most homeless, an unremitting crisis that has confounded the state’s political leaders for decades and exposed one of the most extreme manifestations of economic inequality gripping the country.

Tent encampments — Oakland city officials count 90 of them — are now as much a part of the landscape as the bars and restaurants that cater to the city’s rising affluence. Many Americans are one medical emergency, one layoff, one family disaster away from bankruptcy or losing the roofs over their heads.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/28/us/homeless-san-francisco.html

I was driving around Downtown Denver earlier today and drove past three people sleeping on the street, a few blocks from the ballpark. They didn’t have much baggage – no tents or sleeping bags, and one of them was in a large electric wheelchair. You see a lot of homeless people in Denver so I might not have registered these three, but that I had read this article earlier in the day, and I can’t see how someone survives being homeless in an electric wheelchair.

Ending single-family zoning. Minneapolis and Oregon.

The city of Minneapolis just launched a quiet revolution when the city council voted to abolish single-family zoning. This is an excellent move. Cities around the country should follow suit.

Single-family zoning is also bad for economic equality. It makes it a lot harder for people of modest means to live in a thriving area, since these people tend only be able to afford apartments, townhouses or other smaller or multifamily dwellings. Blue-collar workers aren’t just being priced out of the country’s increasingly productive cities — they’re being prevented from moving there in search of better opportunities. Urbanist Richard Florida refers to this in his book “The New Urban Crisis.”

There’s also a racial dimension to the inequality that exclusionary zoning creates. Black families, which tend to earn less money, are kept out of white neighborhoods by their inability to afford the sprawling homes that cities mandate be built there. In fact, single-family zoning might have even been invented for just this purpose, as part of a large raft of approaches that cities used to keep higher-earning whites segregated from generally lower-earning black residents after race-based zoning was struck down by the Supreme Court in 1917. Eliminating this zoning is thus one important step on the road to integration.

Bloomberg

The Oregon Legislature has passed a bill that largely bans single-family zoning statewide. It’s a notable win for zoning reform advocates.

On Sunday, the Oregon Senate passed HB 2001 by a 17-9 vote, with Republicans and Democrats lining up on both sides of the bill. The Oregon House approved its version of the bill two weeks ago in a similarly bipartisan 43-16 vote.

Reason

THE STATE  OF THE NATION’S HOUSING 2019

CONTINUING SHORTFALL IN SUPPLY
Just as the recent housing downturn was longer and deeper than any other since the Great Depression, the residential construction rebound has been slower. Since reaching bottom in 2011 at just 633,000 new units, additions to the housing stock have grown at an average annual rate of just 10 percent. Despite these steady gains, completions and placements totaled only 1.2 million units last year—the lowest annual production, excluding 2008–2018, going back to 1982.

The sluggish construction recovery is in part a response to persistently weak household growth after the recession. On a three-year trailing basis, the number of net new households dropped below 1.0 million in 2008 and held below that mark for seven straight years, including a low of just 534,000 in 2009. By comparison, even through the three recessions and large demographic shifts that occurred between 1980 and 2007, household growth still averaged 1.3 million annually and only dipped below 1.0 million once.

With the economy finally back on track, household growth picked up to 1.2 million a year in 2016–2018, close to expected levels given the size and age composition of the population. But new construction was still depressed relative to demand, with additions to supply just keeping pace with the number of new households (Figure 1). As a result, the national vacancy rate for both owner-occupied and rental units fell again in 2018, to 4.4 percent, its lowest point since 1994.

JOINT CENTER FOR HOUSING STUDIES OF HARVARD UNIVERSITY

This bunk bed is $1,200 a month, privacy not included – CNN

Housing costs have become so expensive in some cities that people are renting bunk beds in a communal home for $1,200 a month. Not a bedroom. A bed.

PodShare is trying to help make up for the shortage of affordable housing in cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles by renting dormitory-style lodging and providing tenants a co-living experience.

A PodShare membership allows you to snag any of the 220 beds — or pods — at six locations across Los Angeles and one in San Francisco. There’s no deposit and no commitment. You get a bed, a locker, access to wifi and the chance to meet fellow “pod-estrians.” Each pod includes a shelf and a personal television. Food staples, like cereal and ramen, and toiletries like toothpaste and toilet paper, are also included.

https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/05/success/podshare-co-living/index.html

 

Mortgage Payments in US Cities

In Minneapolis, in order to afford the city’s median monthly mortgage payment of $1,228, homeowners must earn a minimum annual income of $49,122. The average price of a home in Minneapolis is $250,779.

In Denver, in order to afford the city’s median monthly mortgage payment of $1,725, homeowners must earn a minimum annual income of $68,983.
The average price of a home in Denver is $352,172.

In Boston, in order to afford the city’s median monthly mortgage payment of $2,384, homeowners must earn a minimum annual income of $95,344.
The average price of a home in Boston is $486,752.

In San Francisco, in order to afford the city’s median monthly mortgage payment of $5,052, homeowners must earn a minimum annual income of $202,094.
The average price of a home in San Francisco is $1,032,732.

http://www.businessinsider.com/how-much-you-need-to-make-to-afford-mortgage-salary-2019-6

Data collection is difficult. Accurately counting homeless people.

To count the unhoused and unsheltered population—the shelters are usually full to bursting with waitlists hundreds or a thousand names long—county health or human services agencies, or nonprofits to which the task is contracted out, often resort to the simplest method of enumeration known, the one you learn in kindergarten: They (or citizen volunteers, mostly) go out with flashlights, clipboards and pencils, and literally count heads, or curled-up street sleepers, or RVs, or tents.

How many people an office manager or sales rep guesses are sleeping in an RV or a tent they’re peering at in the semi-dark becomes data. Whether the volunteer presumes two or four is up to them—I can tell you this, for I have done it twice, in 2009 and 2017, and I don’t believe my guessing skills improved much—and thus wholly arbitrary, a snap decision that can result in a variance of 100 percent. Or more. Is that just some old car, or an old car someone lives in? Is that RV the glamping vehicle for an Instagram influencer or some eccentric Burner type, or does it house the family of four who couldn’t afford the landlord’s latest offer? You don’t know and you can’t know. Yet, this is the data the federal government uses, and we arrive at neat numbers like, “500,000 homeless people in America, 8,011 homeless people in San Francisco.”

How California’s Homeless Crisis Grew Obscenely Out of Control, Chris Roberts, Observer.com

The good times aren’t good for everyone in California

The economy here is booming, but no one feels especially good about it. When the cost of living is taken into account, billionaire-brimming California ranks as the most poverty-stricken state, with a fifth of the population struggling to get by. Since 2010, migration out of California has surged.

The basic problem is the steady collapse of livability. Across my home state, traffic and transportation is a developing-world nightmare. Child care and education seem impossible for all but the wealthiest. The problems of affordable housing and homelessness have surpassed all superlatives — what was a crisis is now an emergency that feels like a dystopian showcase of American inequality.

America’s Cities Are Unlivable. Blame Wealthy Liberals,  Farhad Manjoo, nytimes

California Housing Crisis, some numbers

From 2010 to 2017 the greater San Francisco Bay Area added 546,000 new jobs but only 76,000 new housing units. Where did civic leaders think these hundreds of thousands of additional people would live? California, which has the nation’s worst statewide housing crisis, needs to built 180,000 units a year just to keep up with population growth. Yet in no year from 2007-2017 did the state build even 100,000 units.

Shaw, Randy. Generation Priced Out

 

Why America’s New Apartment Buildings All Look the Same

Cheap stick framing has led to a proliferation of blocky, forgettable mid-rises—and more than a few construction fires.

Alternative Housing – Dorms, for non students

Instead, Starcity residents get a bedroom of 130 square feet to 220 square feet. Many of the buildings will feature some units with a private bath for a higher rent. But Jon Dishotsky, Starcity’s co-founder and chief executive, said a ratio of one bathroom for every two to three bedrooms makes the most sense for large-scale affordability. The average one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco rents for $3,300 a month, but Starcity rooms go for $1,400 to $2,400 a month fully furnished, with utilities and Wi-Fi included.

via nytimes

Residential Architecture

Patchwork Quilt-ism?

This building is in Denver, on Broadway and just south of I-25. The boxiness is fine, the color scheme chaps my hide though. Loud and inharmonious. Reminds me of the old orange roof on Howard Johnson’s. Least that had the justification of letting people know there’s some place to eat.

20180824_184236

WBUR is on it ->

In cities like Seattle, Boston, Denver and Charlotte, new “luxury” condos and apartment buildings are going up to meet demand for new housing. But many of these buildings look like simple, plain boxes.

Those ‘Luxury’ Condos Look A Little Drab

Housing Construction Per Household

Home construction per household is now at its lowest levels in nearly six decades, according to researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. This isn’t just a problem in San Francisco or New York, where home prices and rents have gone sky-high. It is also a problem in midsized, fast-growing cities farther inland, like Des Moines, Iowa; Durham, N.C.; and Boise, Idaho. In Boise, an analysis by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development showed there is a demand for more than 10 times the number of homes being built right now.

via NPR

Seattle resident explains why he’s ‘had it’

The toxic politics are bad enough, but the city also has become unaffordable for the middle class. Partly, that is due to high demand (which is a good problem for a city to have), but it’s also due to self-inflicted wounds, such as a restrictive housing policy that artificially caps supply. Seattle is well on its way to becoming the next Vancouver, British Columbia, with the median housing price having spiked to an eye-watering $820,000, far outside the reach of the middle class. Unless they are able to save for about 14 years to afford a down payment, millennials can forget about homeownership entirely.

The writer has lived in Seattle for 14 years and is moving on.

SB 827 Autopsy – Why is affordable housing is so scarce?

For the past four months, California state Sen. Scott Wiener has been on a quest to strip his staunchly left-wing hometown of its power to maintain single-family residential neighborhoods. His Senate Bill 827 would have required California cities to permit midrise-apartment construction—buildings rising up to 45 or 55 feet—around train stations and busy bus stops. It was a radical attempt to subvert local control in the interest of creating more homes and would have opened up neighborhoods in San Diego, Los Angeles, and the Bay Area to row houses and small apartment buildings. Transit-rich San Francisco, where Wiener, a first-term legislator, previously sat on the board of supervisors, would have been almost entirely rezoned to accommodate a residential scale about half that of a typical Parisian street.

Opposed by virtually every Californian in a position of power, Wiener’s bill failed in a Sacramento committee on Tuesday. This had been widely anticipated; what Wiener and his co-sponsor Nancy Skinner, representing the East Bay, proposed was nothing less than to upend the entire framework for the past century of American racial politics and wealth building.

From a bird’s-eye perspective, though, it’s not clear that things can get much worse. Consider the Bay Area, where the nurse in San Jose flies into work from Idaho and where families living in cars dump their feces into storm drains across the street from the future Chan-Zuckerberg School, a philanthropic endeavor of the Facebook founder and his wife that’s a five-minute drive from the company’s global headquarters. In the past five years, the Bay Area has added 373,000 jobs and built only 58,000 units of housing. California homes cost 2½ times the U.S. average, and higher still in the coastal metros that SB 827 would address. The California Legislative Analyst’s Office estimated in 2015 that the state’s major metro areas between 1980 and 2010 built barely half the number of housing units needed to keep price growth in line with the U.S. average. Hundreds of thousands of low-income households have left the state over the past decade, replaced by high-earning new arrivals. California is basically one enormous gentrifying neighborhood. What does “worse” look like?

Via Slate