With the number of units of housing that finished up construction across San Francisco at the end of last year having outpaced the number of units for which the ground was newly broken, the net number of units under construction across the city dropped 8 percent from the third quarter of 2020 to 8,500 and was down 17 percent on a year-over-year basis.  But the number of units under construction across the city is still 30 percent higher than average over the past 10 years.

At the same time, the number of units for which building permits were either issued or newly requested, but for which the ground has yet to be broken, increased by 5 percent to 18,900 (which is the most in over a decade and 11 percent higher than at the end of 2019) and the number of units in projects that have already been approved but not yet permitted (which still includes the majority of the units to rise by Candlestick, on Treasure Island and at Parkmerced, projects which have overall timelines measured in decades, not years) is up to 34,200 and nearly 12 percent higher than at the same time last year.

And with proposals for another 10,900 units of housing now under review by the City’s Planning Department, which is 30 percent fewer than at the same time last year but about average for the past 10 years, San Francisco’s Housing Pipeline has ticked up to 72,400 units, which is down 1.9 percent on a year-over-year basis but up 3.4 percent from the quarter before and within 2 percent of a record high, according to our accounting of Planning’s databases as newly mapped above.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Neighborhood Activist

    Given the obscene cost of construction and materials right now, and the uncertainty around SF housing demand post-pandemic (I think it will return to pre-pandemic levels, but not everyone shares that view) — I do not expect many new shovels in the ground this year. People are still entitling projects, but after that, many of them are shopped as shovel-ready projects.

    It remains to be seen what will happen with sales and lease-ups of projects which are nearing completion now. BMR units will rent or sell, of course, and so will market-rate units, but will they do so at the expected prices which provides the profit that justified development in the first place? If developers are squeezed by the market and have to sell units unprofitably, I imagine that will put an even bigger chill on new construction starts.

    One project I’ve been watching is 2238-2254 Market St. (now called 2240 Market), a 44-unit mixed-use building from developer The Prado Group. It was designed to be sold as condos, but now that construction is nearing completion it looks like they’ve switched and plan to rent them. They’d previously started sales efforts so my guess is that they weren’t getting the prospective buyers they expected.

  2. Posted by john p downey

    Its amazing that anything is rarely built west of Divisadero and almost never west of Arguello. Its just 3-1/2 miles of low density development. This City is beyond help. And yet, people pay millions to live there.

    • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

      The west side is a de-facto suburb of the city.

      • Posted by Neighborhood Activist

        For sure. And even modest legislation to allow 4-plexes on corner parcels might as well be a proposal to kill puppies, judging by the controversy it inspires.

      • Posted by Dave (Seattle dude)

        True, but the demand for housing – the need for 70K plus new units – is TBD. With the Central SOMA plan for 40K new jobs all but dead and SF not being the jobs center it was pre-pandemic, housing demand needs to be re-evaluated.

        It is possible that changing the CP/HP development to all housing (which might garner 25K units) and modifying the Central SOMA plan to mostly eliminate the offices for new housing (which one supervisor has suggested), that might more than suffice to satisfy housing needs for decades to come.

        Bottom line, there is less and less need for any significant up-zoning on the “western frontiers” of SF.

    • Posted by Notcom

      “Its just 3-1/2 miles of low density development. … And yet, people pay millions to live there.”

      Gee, it’s almost like the two are related.

      • Posted by two beers

        It’s almost as if livability and unrestrained capitalism are incompatible paradigms…

        • Posted by Notcom

          Or that “density” – elegant or otherwise – isn’t for everyone.

  3. Posted by SFRealist

    With so much construction in one half of the city and so little in the other half, the supervisor districts will have to change significantly in the next redistricting.

  4. Posted by Chris

    What’s up with Parkmerced? Is construction expected to commence anytime within the next decade or so?

  5. Posted by Liz Shaw

    As usual, the Planning Dept is as slow as a snail. Werent they (?) supposed to fix that problem?

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