With the number of newly proposed units of housing to be built in San Francisco having outpaced the number of units that recently finished up construction for the sixth quarter in a row, the overall pipeline of apartments and condos under development in San Francisco now totals a record 72,865 units of housing, which is 5,050 more than in the first quarter of 2018.

And for the fifth quarter in a row, the number of units in developments which are currently under construction and should be ready for occupancy within the next year or two has increased, from 8,100 at the end of last year to 8,500 in the first quarter of 2019, which is within 3 percent of the current cycle peak of 8,800 set in the third quarter of 2015 and nearly 50 percent above the average number of units under construction across the city at any point in time over the past ten years.

The net-new number of units of housing for which building permits have either been issued, approved or requested is holding at around 16,800 and the number of units in projects that have already been approved but not yet permitted (which still includes the majority of the 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) is holding at a record 33,500.

And with proposals for another 14,050 units of housing now under review by the City’s Planning Department, which has been bolstered by the passage of San Francisco’s proposed Central SoMa Plan, a plan which has since been challenged, San Francisco’s Housing Pipeline now totals a record 72,865 units, including nearly 14,200 units of “affordable housing” which are to be offered at below market rates, according to our latest accounting of Planning’s database as newly mapped above.

At the same time, home sales in San Francisco are off to their slowest start since 2010 and pending sales are down.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Jake

    It is absolutely outrageous that there are basically no units being built outside of downtown.

    • Posted by Wai Yip Tung

      Most of the new housing are built on 10% of land. The entire West side produce hardly any housing.

      Similar issue in Marin county. They produce nearly 0 housing compares to the rest of Bay Area.

    • Posted by Hunter

      this is why we need a statewide upzoning bill. Single-family homeowners will fight tooth and nail to maintain their suburban lifestyle, even if it means their kids can’t afford to live in the same city. And they will keep most of our supes voting against density until the day they die.

      • Posted by CC

        Yeah, those crazy homeowners that want their supervisor to represent their interests! Who wouldn’t want more people like Johnny-Jodgers24 (below) in their neighborhood? Who wouldn’t want Golden Gate Park turned into a garbage dump like Dolores Park.

        • Posted by Anonymous

          Golden Gate Park has trash strewn all over it and homeless/street people camped out in the areas off the paths. Believing that the west side is somehow a spotless paradise is delusional. But by all means, keep on going with the insane intellectual dishonesty

          • Posted by CC

            I never claimed the west side was a spotless paradise. So who is being intellectually dishonesty? However, it is a fact that Dolores Park has significantly more trash then GGP.

            Excerpt from a Chronicle article:

            “whenever the temperature climbs over 65 degrees on a Saturday, a festival-size crowd of 7,000 to 10,000 descends on the park — but without any of the festival requirements.

            The result is 14,921 cubic yards of garbage a year — 75 times as much trash as is left at the comparably sized Alamo Square park across town.

            In fact, take away the California Academy of Sciences, Botanical Garden, Kezar Stadium and de Young Museum, and 1,027-acre Golden Gate Park generates just one-sixth the amount of trash per year as 14-acre Dolores Park, according to Recreation and Park Department officials.”

            So it would seem you are the one that has issues with reality.

        • Posted by Hunter

          Dolores Park is a beautiful urban park that is packed with people. Nearly half of GG Park is completely underutilized except for folks living in the woods. We should build up on all sides like Central Park.

          • Posted by CC

            It’s nice to think big but you may want to petition the city to build an actual sidewalk on the Sunset side before talking about building up.

          • Posted by Scott F

            Agreed. San Francisco today gets its green space backwards: Where there’s density (SoMa), we don’t have parks, and where there’s parks (GGP), we don’t have density. I’d like to see the city do better on both fronts.

            How about a park at that 7th & Brannan site posted today, and get the 150 affordable homes by instead building tall on a city-owned site in the Avenues?

    • Posted by denis

      Projects west of downtown typically don’t pencil out. Even if it was up-zoned, the (lengthy) entitlement process and construction costs are astronomically high and a couple of extra floors wouldn’t even begin to justify the expense. Development of multi-family units is now well beyond the financial range of anyone but the most well-connected developers who will continue to invest in downtown where, yes, neighborhood opposition is lower, but so is the cost of completing larger projects which can be spread out over bigger parcels.

      • Posted by Scott F

        This is just not true. The sort of 4-6 story, smaller apartment buildings that could enhance the Westside if we passed zoning reform are ideal for small builders using more affordable wood construction.

        Take a look at zoning maps for the Richmond and Sunset. You might be surprised just how pervasive RH-1 zoning is, and how few areas allow apartments at all, of any scale. Yes, entitlement and construction costs are high, but zoning is still the main barrier to housing on the Westside, not “penciling out.”

  2. Posted by jimbo

    the westside has very poor transit. it takes 40 minutes on a bus from the INNER richmond (3.4miles) to get downtown.

    thats longer than it takes from much of the east bay and the peninsula. a Geary subway could lead to signifiant new housing in the richmond. I can imagine a geary lined with 7-8 floors condo buildings with bottom floor retail with better transit, but the current transit sucks

    • Posted by SFRealist

      We should upzone Geary dramatically and use the tax proceeds to build a Geary subway.

      • Posted by BeastBay

        I think that’s a cart before the horse proposition. You’d have to sell bonds, build the subway, with the premise of upzoning. Given the pace of the other subway being built, you’d be 8-10 years out before you could start to pay back the bonds. Would be a tough sell.

        • Posted by SFRealist

          True, but that’s what the bonds are for. To raise money for the subway.

          That being said, it would be very complicated and require vision and leadership from city government.

    • Posted by Hunter

      Agree, but they are already building the BRT system which will hopefully pave the way for separated light rail/subway. Regardless, a lot more people would like to live there, and we should upzone for 7-10 stories on all wide streets like Geary.

    • Posted by Wai Yip Tung

      The west side does not have very poor transit. 40 minutes of commute time is average in the Bay area. Pus transit from Inner Richmond is super frequent.

      • Posted by jimbo

        40 mins from 4th ave is not good transit. again, you can get downtown faster on public transit from oakland, berkely, rockride, south SF, Daly city. transit to the richmond is absolutely horrendous

        • Posted by Scott F

          Only if you’re precisely next to the BART station in those places, none of which have much transit-oriented housing except for 12th and 19th in Oakland.

      • Posted by Parksidemike

        The L Taraval has always and continues to be called the L Terrible out the Avenues. It is not a misnomer.

        In the morning each stop has dozens of anxious riders out in the street peering hopefully, but fruitlessly, into the dense fog hoping to be surprised by the emergence of an overdue L coming up from La Playa. In the evening, frequent unexpected switchbacks at the Parkside Library stop, 24th and Taraval, unceremoniously dump people off with little hope of getting another subsequent L, which, whenever it does come, won’t stop because it is already packed to the roof. You are almost, but not quite home. Who would intentionally get on a bus that was not going to get you where you expect it to go?

        Who wouldn’t want to live downtown, closer to where you work? Increasing density out the West end, without solving things like this first for current residents would be absurd. Currently the approach to remedy of this is using thousands of gallons of white painted, confusing markings all up and down Taraval, which, after a year being laid down, no one pays any attention to. Planning by painting does not work, nor does increasing density without improving things people will need living in higher density conditions.

    • Posted by Anonymous

      Not just Geary, but all the way down 19th Ave as well. Many design studies for a 2nd Transbay Tube have the BART component crossing Market, running out Geary, and turning under the park or Upper Haight to 19th Ave and then down past Stonestown and SF State to Daly City.

      This is obviously decades away at best, but speaking hypothetically it would make a lot of sense.

      • Posted by Scott F

        It’s a good idea and I hope we can get that down to a single decade, at least for a first phase to open.

    • Posted by Sierrajeff

      This – came here to say this. Until transit is improved, development in the Richmond, and especially the Outer Sunset, will be stymied. My “express” bus would take 25 to 45 minutes to go from Park Presidio to downtown – I can bike it faster, and that Muni pace is barely 2x the walking speed!

      And that’s simply with existing capacity and traffic. Transit times would slow considerably more if you add significant housing to the Richmond or Sunset without first upgrading transit.

  3. Posted by civ-e

    when does the treasure island development break ground? seems like not much news about it lately.

  4. Posted by Johnny-Jodgers24

    10,500 units by Candlestick, 7,800 units on Treasure Island and 5,680 units at Parkmerced,

    So the vast majority is in crappy sections of the city no one really wants to live in.

    • Posted by Anonymous

      You understand that the idea of redevelopment is to turn them into places that more people can and want to live, right?

      • Posted by Johnny-Jodgers24

        Not happening in those three areas. None of them are the true SF experience, just outskirt ghettos.

        • Posted by curmudgeon

          it’s hardly worth responding to you, except saying that maybe you should go see The Last Black Man in San Francisco. All of those locations are very much a “true” SF experience. (fantastic film, btw)

        • Posted by Anon

          you could have said the same thing about Mission Bay 15 years ago.

    • Posted by Goodmaab50

      With no real transit improvement, or increased infrastructure to support the proposed populations. Most of which won’t be completed till 2040 and with huge impacts on the carbon emissions as they are far from “green” proposals.

  5. Posted by UnlivableCity

    The whole “we need more housing” is a fiction to anyone other than the people who cash in on cramming more into the city. And those people btw are about as SF soulful as an abandoned needle.

    There is way too much housing being built and it needs to take a breather so we can see what happens to basic services.

    • Posted by Anonymous

      This is objectively false and is without question trolling. Get that explicitly anti-fact nonsense out of here.

    • Posted by SFRealist

      As a homeowner, it would be brilliant for me if San Francisco stopped all new home construction.

      • Posted by Scott F

        Until you need plumbing done, or landscaping, or your kids need an education, or you even just want to go out and buy a sandwich, and it turns out everyone who does that work has been priced out. The housing shortage is bad for everyone.

        • Posted by SFRealist

          It’s brilliant for existing homeowners.

          It’s terrible for everyone else. The best thing for San Francisco as a city is to build more housing. The best thing for existing homeowners is to not build anything, since it constricts supply.

    • Posted by Goodmaab50

      2800 sloat should loop the L line back up sloat as the changes to the great hwy will require a fix back to west portal picking up passengers at the lakeside mall and stern grove or shifting down the west side of SFSU and parkmerced stonestown redevelopments. Unfortunately 19th ave transit is going nowhere fast and the construction alone for 40 years will bring the westside to a standstill…

  6. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Unlivable – Your comment sounds like it was stated by someone already secure in housing: Try this thought experiment: Assume you have accepted a job paying $80K in the SF. Now try to find suitable, affordable housing and see what you come up with.

    • Posted by Some Guy

      Easy-peasy, just rent a $1200-$1500 studio in East Oakland or $1850-$2400 in Bizarre-kely. Add in $250/mo for BART tickets and you’re good to go…

      • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

        Except for the low end E.Oak rent for apartments that might not be palatable for someone not wishing to be spear tip of gentrification, those rents would exceed the “30% for housing” rule of thumb for housing affordability. Then factor in the cost of the commute which is more than just the fare.

  7. Posted by Ohlone Californio

    Did the 2800 Sloat condos sell? That’s pretty much the most prominent west side development I can think of offhand.

    • Posted by CC

      Don’t know about 2800 Sloat but the Alexandra on 18th Ave. had 43 units and they sold out in about 6 months.

  8. Posted by Goodmaab50

    Transit is the key. Wiener talked about subways but that takes too long and costs too much… trackless trains and e-shuttles should amp up transit where new housing is proposed and loops and links made now prior to density…

    Or we will see 🚗 🚙 🚌🚎🚐🚑🚓🚚🚛🚜

  9. Posted by Goodmaab50

    Wieners recent bill shenanigans ignores the problem, so does the 600 million housing bond and 1 million from google…

    Realize the cost per unit in sf and the need to buy back upfront properties slated for redevelopment. Buy parkmerced back, and maybe some other larger sites for 100% permanent affordable housing will save more and fix the problem quicker…SFCLT or separate agency with public oversight…

  10. Posted by whatevs

    im giving up – and moving …
    this crazyness is not even worth it.
    This is also why SF will not climb out of its bubble. People interested in seeing change will not stick around to fight this never ending battle.

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