While legislation to streamline the approval process for developers of below-market-rate housing in San Francisco to build up to three stories higher than zoned was adopted last year, the biggest component of San Francisco’s proposed Affordable Housing Bonus Program, which would have allowed market-rate developers to build up to two stories higher than currently zoned in exchange for pricing 30 percent of the development at below-market rates, was effectively abandoned.

But the bonus height program for market rate developers is about to re-emerge as “HOME-SF.”

And in addition, the HOME-SF program would expand the income range of households that qualify for the newly built below-market-rate units to families earning up to 150 percent of the Area Median Income, which is currently up to $140,000 a year for a family of four.

24 thoughts on “Contentious Bonus Height Program Rebranded”
  1. This re-branding will completely change people’s minds about the attractiveness of large tall buildings crowded with high proportions of subsidized residents being built in San Francisco. The name and the logo are super-unique. The way the home looks like an arrow, but with people inside. It’s amazing work.

        1. A crisis, obviously, for all the automobiles that will be left out in the cold; as our ‘Transit First’ policy is waiting for a critical mass of bldgs and residents before construction on those service-providing systems starts.

        2. It’s a crisis because there isn’t enough housing to meet demand, which has caused market rate prices to skyrocket beyond the reach of most existing SF residents, as well as any newcomers who aren’t wealthy.

          1. The problem is that the demand is temporary in nature, or in the words of our new president, a big fat ugly bubble created by the Fed.

      1. Thanks for your feedback on my commentary. For what it’s worth, the Syrian people are in physical crisis. The Venezuelan people are in economic crisis. People who want to move to San Francisco but find that rents are expensive, are inconvenienced.

        Here is a remodeled 1 bed / 1 bath condo with a view of the water, and an outdoor deck, in walking distance of a ferry to downtown San Francisco for $275K / $271 per foot. That’s nice, safe, affordable housing served by public transit. Get on the boat.

        Most of the incumbent residents of the city don’t want a lot more housing built right next to them. Having an intern in the mayor’s office do a clip art re-branding of a dubious program isn’t going to change anything.

        1. Nice try, bachman. That “affordable” housing costs, with mortgage and required HOA dues, $2050 a month, requiring a $71,000 annual income. Not so “affordable” now, is it? And as a one-bedroom, it’s not ripe for having a roommate to share it with — so it’s only affordable to single people making upwards of $70,000, or to couples without children.

          Except wait, that “served by public transit” requires a 1-hr, 15 minute commute to the first SF location, the Embarcadero. If you have to commute to the southern part of the city, add 15-45 minutes each way.
          So a 3-hour daily commute.

          And then the costs run between $10 and $12 each way, depending on where in SF you are commuting to. So monthly commuting costs of $800-960 per month, making that nice “affordable” condo actually closer to between $2,850-3100 per month to own. For a one-bedroom apartment.

          Hey, now that’s more like that average $3100 cost of a one-bedroom in SF!

          So now that “affordable” condo is only affordable to people earning $111,000 or more per year. Not so affordable now.

          Also, I’m always amused at people who respond to any given problem with “hey, someone else has it worse!” That says nothing.

          1. Calculating the present value of HOA assuming a 4.5% interest rate over the 30 year life of the mortgage you get roughly 400k. The true cost of the condo is 675K. Not affordable

          2. $390 a month * 12 months = $4680 per year in HOA fees (for insurance, maintenance etc. that a SFH homeowner would otherwise bear herself)
            $4,680 / 4.5% for the perpetuity value (in present value terms) = $104,000

            So your math is approximately 4 times wrong, and ignores the fact that HOA fees go to actual expenses that would otherwise be borne by a home owner.

  2. Affordability is defined as no more than 33% of gross income. If you’re going to accuse folks of just making stuff up, I’m not your best candidate.

  3. I haven’t accused anyone of making stuff up. I also didn’t say “Hey, someone else has it worse!” My point is more that people like you have a strong unmerited sense of entitlement. Does anyone want an hour long commute on a ferry? Of course not. It’s quite inconvenient. Does anyone want to pay $326 a month for a monthly ferry pass? Of course not (though thousands of people who drive in from places farther away than Vallejo do every month). These are inconveniences that are a trade-off for the chance to work in the dynamic employment market that is San Francisco.

    If someone promised you a place to live for 33% of your income, regardless of your income, you’ve been misinformed. And if you think everyone in San Francisco should want to have large buildings built around their neighborhoods so that no one needs to live in far-away places like Vallejo, then I wish you the best of luck with changing public opinion.

    This isn’t a crisis. It’s a market adjusting to the legal framework maintained and supported by our political leaders.

  4. moto mayhem & bachman:

    Everything is affordable to someone. However, these are only affordable to people making around $110,000 a year.

    I’m asking you both of that’s what *you* mean by “affordable.”

      1. Okay, so a couple, each making $65,000 per year. That eliminates all working-class people right there, except for the highest-paid union workers with the most seniority.

        That “affordable” condo is also not possible for people with children, being one bedroom and all.

        Oh, and if both people work in SF, you can add that monthly commute cost of $800-$960 to the cost of owning that condo, making it now only affordable to a couple whose combined income is $146,000 a year, or $73,000 per person per year.

        1. Oops, each making $55K, not $65K. (At least before I added the commuting costs of the second half of that couple.)

  5. I’m not allowed to answer any more, apparently. I had a response for you and dear leader deleted it.

    [Editor’s Note: We haven’t removed any comments from this thread.]

    1. “We haven’t removed any comments from this thread” is a lie. You removed a lengthy comment that I submitted, just like you removed lengthy responses of mine in other threads like the 151 Liberty one. You edited my redfin link and inserted comments here. I get it, it’s your site and you do what you like.

      My summarized response to Cynthia is that no one has a “right” to housing in San Francisco at a price she deems affordable. People make all kinds of sacrifices to live and/or work here. That’s part of life, not a crisis. Good luck.

      1. “You removed a lengthy comment that I submitted…”

        No, we didn’t.

        “…just like you removed lengthy responses of mine in other threads like the 151 Liberty one.”

        Yes, we did. And as you never responded to the emails we sent you with respect to the flagged comments, they remain unapproved.

        “You edited my redfin link…”

        That’s correct, we shortened the link (which remains in place above).

  6. San Francisco Health Improvement Partnership, whose data is refreshed more often than the census’, holds that the median income for San Francisco households in 2016 was about 84k, so Cynthia is correct that a home requiring a $110,000 yearly household income is not really affordable.

    I am always amused by glib real estate agents and other commentators who say “well, so what if the median household can’t afford the median home, buy something in the suburbs and commute.” This just reinforces the real point here: people routinely underestimate the costs of commuting. The Census Bureau reports the San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont metro area has more workers than anywhere else in the country who travel at least 50 miles and 90 minutes (one way) to work.

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