Including finished new construction projects and conversions, 2,579 net-new units of housing were added to San Francisco’s stock of housing in 2018, down 42 percent from 4,441 in 2017 and 3.6 percent below the 10-year average of 2,676 net new units but 12 percent above the 20-year average of closer to 2,300 per year, figures which are slated to be presented to San Francisco’s Planning Commission next week.

At the same time, plans for roughly 6,100 units of new housing were authorized by the City over the past year, down 9 percent from 6,700 in 2017 but still twice the 20-year average of roughly 3,000 units, leading to San Francisco’s record housing pipeline, and bump in actual building, as we first reported last month.

And as such, San Francisco’s overall housing stock now totals roughly 395,000 units, including 124,100 single-family homes and 113,800 units in multi-family buildings with 20 units or more, and with a little over 8,000 units under construction as of the end of last year.

Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Dave (Seattle dude)

    Very anemic actual number of new units added in the past few years. Despite the vaunted pipeline. So many multi-unit projects will never make it out of that pipeline as the entitlement is sold or lapses. The Gold Rush City to the north added 12K units in 2017, around the same in 2018 – haven’t seen official numbers. Housing production seems to be in decline now based on 2018 actuals. The thing that most stands out – new unit production down 42% last year from the previous year and down 3.6% from the 10 year average. That despite the boom times that existed in the past few years when units completed in 2018 would have been approved.

  2. Posted by Outoftown

    Do anyone have similar statistics for Oakland and San Jose? Would be interesting to see how they compare as they are influenced by many of the same economic conditions.

  3. Posted by UnlivableCity

    How can you people spew this “build build build” fabrication in the light of day? 40,000 new units of housing over 20 years and double the rate in the last 10. In a city second only to NYC for density, that is denser than Hong Kong. This beautiful city is being ruined by out of town development interests whose greed is their hallmark. The only decent reporting on that concept was yesterday’s scathing takedown of the Hudson Yards monstrosity – in the New York Times.

    • Posted by Outoftown

      Do you believe that building housing in an old rail yard, a naval yard or the prior location of a football stadium is ruining the beauty of the city? When I go to visit, I never go to those particular locales. I agree that there are many beautiful areas of SF that should not be redeveloped, but the areas where the prior use has become obsolete should definitely be reused. As far as out of town developers ruining the city – they only build what the city allows, and if they didn’t expect to make a profit they wouldn’t bother.

    • Posted by A S

      The claim that SF is more dense than Hong Kong uses a density number for Hong Kong that would be akin to including all of Pt. Reyes in SF’s land area. Put shortly, it is unreasonable.

      This of course is borne out by the experience of anyone who has actually been to both cities.

      • Posted by RobBob

        Yeah those people need to visit Hong Kong. Comparing Hong Kong to San Francisco is like comparing San Francisco to Mountain View. Oh wait I forgot half of San Francisco looks like Mountain View.

        • Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

          There certainly are many, many more skyscrapers in Hong Kong than in San Francisco, so if that’s your measure of “density”, then yes, it’s a pretty unreasonable comparison.

          I’d point out, however, that upwards of 45 % of Hong Kong’s population lives in public housing. If San Francisco tried that (actually creating housing for citizens, rather than creating investment opportunities for greedhead developers who want nothing more than to make as much money on real estate as possible and subsequently decamp to Florida or some other tax haven), the same elitists commenting here on every thread about BMR housing decrying “subdidization” would be out in force at every Planning Commission meeting thumping the lecturn while shouting If you can’t afford to live in San Francisc…don’t live in San Francisco!

          • Posted by bachman_erlich_overdrive

            The public housing available in Hong Kong is primarily ultra dense high rise. We tried that here in San Francisco and wound up with the Geneva Towers, which were so awesome, we decided to blow them up. There are reasons why we can’t have nice things.

            The point about using Point Reyes to calculate San Francisco density is that the populated areas of Hong Kong are extremely dense, yet the inclusion of the unbuilt, relatively-inaccessible New Territories HK provides a density data point inconsistent with the lives of HK residents.

            Hong Kong is all about enabling rich developers to make as much money as possible via regular land auctions of public land for spaces to build new mega skyscraper projects. Anyone who thinks the Willie Brown-ism of SF city hall politics is bad wouldn’t begin to be able to stomach the oligopoly co-optation of the HK LegCo.

    • Posted by SFRealist

      40,000 units in 20 years is a tiny number. It’s a shame that so many parking lots in SOMA were converted to housing. So short sited of us!

  4. Posted by Canuckistanian

    A much smaller city to the north, whose greater metro is a quarter the size of the Bay Area and has consistently topped the charts as one of the world’s most livable cities, has been building 20k housing units per year. 30 years ago, that city was a small boring town in a beautiful setting, it is now a vibrant, livable metropolis with great amenities. Real estate development built that city!

    When I walk through Soma, all I can think is that there needs to be 250k new residents living there. New businesses, new street life, a livable neighborhood in the downtown core. Instead we have wasted freeway like blocks filled with nobody but the homeless.

    • Posted by Hunter

      Agree 100%. And the inclusionary zoning rules / community benefits have stifled the planned housing growth, so virtually all we’re getting now is hotels, offices, and luxury housing.

    • Posted by Dave (Seattle dude)

      So rock and roll didn’t build it? My oh my – what city can that be? Not certainly the first guess of most here I’d suspect.

  5. Posted by markets_arent_a_panacea

    ever consider using log to show percent change? Might help some people wrap their heads around growth.

  6. Posted by kuhuberbord

    Taking the figure that there are roughly 395,000 housing units in SF, the chart above shows that since 1998 there have only been 2, possibly 3, years where growth has exceeded 1%.

    Housing boom indeed…

  7. Posted by SFRealist

    This recent downturn is great news for my home’s value. Terrible news for the poor, young people, and anyone who’s recently moved here. Have to admit, if you already own, the NIMBYs are working for you.

    • Posted by David Kohlmyer

      If you already own and your house still suits you needs. No such thing as move up housing in SF

      • Posted by SFRealist

        Agreed! In addition to preserving the property values of people who have lived here a long time, our policies have also made it incredibly hard to have families here.

      • Posted by Realtor

        Yes but there is in the Bay Area. The under $1,000,000 sfr market in East Bay is very very much in demand and lots of buyers are sellers of SF condos.

  8. Posted by sam

    a lot of the new buildings are sitiing empty.I wonder how many empty condos are in this city

    • Posted by goodmaab50

      Not only are units empty, the DTX is empty downtown, the 19th Ave transit improvements are non-existent, and transit across the city is empty in terms of getting planned and implemented in timely fashion.. SB50 is a joke, if we cannot fix the basics, why allow more density when the systems in place are not adequate for the population growth. Planning meeting SB50 key item was Calvin Welch spoke directly after jim chappel and noted directly the issue LACKING TRANSIT…. So why should more housing be allowed when the transit is lacking in funding and successfull implementation (See Transbay, or any other number of BRT projects which are just lacking LRV projects in terms of funding… )….

  9. Posted by bachman_erlich_overdrive

    Classic Socketsite – I politely point to people to the source of the data which you present without attribution and you delete my comment. You’ll delete this too.

    [Editor’s Note: Or we’ll simply note the source presentation is actually linked above (as it was from the start).]

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