Distribution of Developments in San Francisco's Housing Pipeline: Q3 2015

Following our housing pipeline report for San Francisco last week, the Planning Department updated their dataset to include all activity through the end of September, pushing the total number of housing units under construction in the city up from 8,100 to 8,900 and the total pipeline of development up from 55,000 units to just over 59,000 today, according to our survey of Planning’s data.

In addition to the 8,900 net-new units of housing under construction in the city, there are now another 5,900 net-new units for which building permits have either been issued, approved or have been requested and 28,100 units in projects that have been approved but not yet permitted (which does include 10,500 units by Candlestick, 7,800 units on Treasure Island and 5,680 units at Parkmerced, projects which have overall timelines measured in decades, not years).

And with project proposals for another 16,210 units of housing now being reviewed by the City’s Planning Department, up from 12,600 in the second quarter of the year, the total number of units in San Francisco’s overall Housing Pipeline is up to 59,000, which is up from 55,000 in the second quarter and 51,000 at the same time last year.

For context, roughly 3,000 units of housing wrapped-up construction in San Francisco last year and a total of 13,000 units were added from 2007 through 2014 (27,000 units since the year 2000).

29 thoughts on “Another 4,000 Units Added to San Francisco’s Housing Pipeline”
  1. How many units will come online this year (compared to last year’s 3000) and is there a projection for 2016, 2017, 2018. The housing crisis can’t wait for TI, HP and PM which won’t be built out for 25 years or so.

    Does Planning provide projected new units for the immediate coming years?

    Does Planning provide a figure as to how much rental and how much owner-occupied? The next decade is likely going to see significantly more rental demand than home ownership demand because of the millennials and large immigration. Both groups now favoring rental.more It’d be interesting to see the rental/condo breakdown.

    1. Here’s a prediction I did on the next couple of years: 2,800 new units to be built in 2015; 5,000 in 2016; 3,500 in 2017; and 6,300 in 2018.

      Once a building permit is filed it takes at least 3 years for units to be built, and these new units still need to go through planning which pushes that date out more so it’s not going to affect supply in the near term.

      1. Thank you! This is the information that matters. Not some vague promise of 59,000 units in the pipeline over the next several decades. That’s an irrelevant number.

        It’s important because 59,000 sounds like a big number. But 2800 is a small, insignificant number and demonstrates that we’re hardly building anything.

      2. A. Super thanks for that.

        B. If your projection holds, that is a completely pathetic annual rate of unit production. Doesn’t even come close to keeping up with population growth.

  2. Agreed. More important than total units under construction, is total net-new units delivered to market per year, and as compared to annual population & household growth rates.

  3. The pressure is on high rent price. It would make sense for the city to focus on providing a large share apartments instead of condos. Unfortunately I guess there are more condos built than apartments. City needs to change its rental regulations to make it attractive to be a landlord.

  4. If a million dollar condo with $600 HOA can only rent for $4000, it does not make sense to be a landlord. It makes sense to sell the units as condos instead of leasing and take the responsibility of being a landlord.

    1. Not that I could ever afford to but, agreed, it makes no sense to be a landlord in SF. Unless one buys the canard cash flow apart from the tax benefits makes no never mind. I don’t buy that.

      That said, rental demand will boom in the country and Bay Area over the next decade. Home ownership is at historic low levels in the US.

      Rental can make sense in the Bay And given the situation. An existing MV apartment, 1 mile for Google, with a 3% cap rate (pathetic, but this is California) is one example of a solid investment. It has been identified by MV as a high density housing site. Ripe for a new entitlement which will pave over a lot of the acreage and turn it into more apartments.

      Good situations remain in the Bay Area but mostly they are not in SF. Investing in a million dollar condo with 600/month HOA at 4K rent is not one of them.

    2. Conversely, it doesn’t make sense to pay a million plus hoa to buy when you can rent for $4000. The rental and condo markets are not as independent as you may think, at least in the absence of asset bubble. Meanwhile, rest assured that some, perhaps many, of those condo buyers will turn right around and rent them to you at 4%, hoa included. Check out the Lumina listings that will flood the market if you don’t believe me.

    1. We need residential parking permits city wide, a limit on how many permits can be issued per person to keep the car hoarders in check and DPT enforcement citywide. Seriously. The DPT doesn’t even operate in the SE neighborhoods with the exception of “commercial corridors”. What kind of city doesn’t even enforce it’s own laws citywide?

      1. The DPT doesn’t operate in many of the West of Twin eaks neighborhoods. But near commercial strips as you say.

        In my area some are so bold as to park a foot or two from a fire hydrant over night. Knowing that on the very rare occasion a DPT person cruises by it mid-day. These people leave for work by 7AM. So not a problem they think.

      2. Don’t limit per person. Limits should be a function of the number of street spaces available, which in most neighborhoods is about one per address. Issue no more than one parking permit per address. That’ll take care of those car hoarders.

        1. One per address and price it such that the cost is equivalent to the benefit. If nothing else it will result in many of the garages in the west side of the city converted back to the primary purpose of parking cars rather than storing junk (with the attendant private parking spot at the curb cut).

  5. It would stand to reason that substantially more than 3000 units will be delivered per year in the short term if there are a net 8900 u/c right now.

    Standard rule of thumb I keep reading is that SF is delivered in a year, MF is delivered in 2 years. But I’m guessing the really large downtown projects (Lumina, etc) have closer to 3 years from start of construction to final building occupancy? Even so, we have a remarkable number of units coming on line soonish just from watching projects go up around town. Lumina is, in fact, the largest single project on that planning dept under construction list with 669 units alone.

    I really hope developers KEEP breaking ground for a while yet…we need it. I’m wondering what our peak year will be for actual deliveries. 2016?

  6. SoMa has the majority of the ~9000 units listed as in “construction”. Below is the list of the 10 largest projects in “construction” by units net. They are all in SoMa. ShowplaceSq, HayesValley. They account for ~4900 of the ~9000. For all the talk/politics about the Mission, there are only 209 net units total listed as in “construction” in the Mission.

    Units Address
    669 201 FOLSOM ST
    560 1 HENRY ADAMS ST
    557 801 BRANNAN ST
    470 1000 16TH ST
    452 399 FREMONT ST
    450 55 LAGUNA STREET
    410 350 08TH ST
    409 280 BEALE ST
    403 57 TEHAMA ST

      1. Uh, the same neighborhoods (plus MB) have been accounting for most of the new units in SF for years. And the prices and rents have been going up not down in these neighborhoods.

        Sometimes in some places adding new and more expensive housing to a neighborhood raises the value/price of the existing buildings. We live in one of those times and places, evidently.

        BTW, most of the new office space and jobs are also going into those same neighborhoods.

        And BVHP is another neighborhood with a disproportionate increase in new construction. Do you also predict BVHP prices and rents will go down? Would it be wiser to buy in the Mission or Excelsior than in BVHP?

        1. Too much new supply will limit the increase of the BVHP price and rent over time. Hopefully the builder can spread the construction into many years to lessen the impact. Of course, new residents will also attract more higher end retail business to this neighborhood and makes the neighborhood more desirable. It could be a wash for BVHP. However, SOMA is already a desirable place so many more units will limit the price and rent increase in SOMA.

          I think Mission has the best chance for price and rent appreciation.

          1. Not all of “SOMA is already a desirable place” and some of it is even as undesirable as the nicer parts of BVHP.

            Besides, as the traffic gets worse and the really bad traffic congestion spreads further (Warriors), being within walking distance of all these new shiny office buildings sprouting up in SoMa will add even more value. Certainly more value than being miles away on the T.

      2. The increased supply in SOMA does not in any way guarantee that prices will drop. Given pent up demand, it’s likely that prices will simply increase somewhat less than they would in the absence of all this construction.

    1. And that’s part of the problem. Responding to NIMBY pressures, the City has concentrated housing growth into a small corner of the City chosen in part due to not a lot of people (or at least, not a lot of middle class homeowner people) living there to protest. Not only concentrated in one small corner, but concentrated in large, high rise development.

      These luxury class buildings are doing very little to satisfy demand at the middle of the market. And the occupants of these buildings by and large are not housing consumers who wind up seeking substitution housing in run down Victorians in the neighborhoods. And these luxury class high rises, generally, do NOT over time become “old buildings” with lower rents. Instead, they get periodically refurbishes and maintained as luxury class, high rent buildings.

      The NY Fed has been doing some studies on this and finding that luxury building production moderates rent increases at the very TOP of the rental market (i.e. for the rich), but doesn’t really do much at all for the rest of the housing market. Course, anyone who understands market segmentation would understand that.

      What we need is whole lot of plain and simple 4-6 story wood frame construction on the West side of town. A LOT.

      1. Thanks for the reference to the Fed study on luxury housing.

        Folks say “build it” so prices will come down – to the downtown towers – but that seems counter-intuitive. Prices have not come down. You mention the segmented market and indeed these towers do nothing for the middle class in terms of providing housing. Or very little.

        BMR requirements at the way too low mandated level can only make a small dent to the few lucky enough to win that lottery.

        As to up-zoning the West side – if that ever happens we will both be long gone.

        And if it did would it guarantee a moderation of prices.

        The stretch along the Great Highway is one of the ugliest ocean front areas of any City. Take out that shamble row of houses fronting the Great Highway. Build 6 story townhomes with views of the increasingly fog-free ocean. Those units would be uber-expensive. Probably quite a bit over a million a pop IMO.

        Up-zoning other areas might just make them relatively more unaffordable than they are today.

      2. i think we should continue to build more in SOMA, Mission Bay and the Mission. We could build 100K more units in those areas alone. They already have great transit and many areas are walking distance to downtown.

        The problem with the westside is that Transit SUCKS. It takes 45 minutes to get from California and Arguello to 1 market. its only 3.3 miles away. much of SOMA is still a wasteland, and areas like Western SOMA should be severely upzoned. also, there is a serious lack of underbuilding in the Mission, which is the best served part of the city for transportation.

        I would love to see Mission Street lined with 8-10 story buildings. the west side does need to contribute, but the biggest bang for the buck is SOMA, Mission Bay, and Mission

      3. I know it’s anecdotal, but I know plenty of people who would want to live in those large luxury towers, and could in any other city, but they are priced out here. So they spend 2-3k renting a room in a Victorian. I don’t have time to read the Fed study right now, but it seems like the segmentation might be different in SF than in most normal cities due to the extreme pricing, not only of luxury housing, but of all housing.

  7. The only reason that developers aren’t building thousands of units immediately in the city, is because they and the city don’t want to. Build 50,000 units in one year and suddenly rents and condo prices go down. I truly believe that they are limiting supply to avoid that scenario.

  8. if the 200K growth by 2040 holds how many new units would be required? Allowing for multiple family households the 200K might break down to what – maybe 125K new units needed? That does not take into account additional units needed now. Seems the City would have to build about double the projected 59K to just keep even. How likely is that to happen?

    The growth is a prediction. Things could change in the next 25 years to alter that projection.

    The Bay Area going to 9 million is a projection too. The SS article linked above said the current Bay Area population is 7 million. Is that right? I thought it was 7.4 million or so and that was a decade ago. Since then SF has grown and surely the Bay Area as a whole has.

  9. Plenty of parking spaces being built with these condos. What’s the plan for when all these new people hop in their car and hit the local freeways? No plan…

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