Housing construction slowed overall in San Francisco in 2020, with affordable units hit especially hard. <ins>(Samantha Laurey/Special to S.F Examiner)</ins>

Housing construction slowed overall in San Francisco in 2020, with affordable units hit especially hard. (Samantha Laurey/Special to S.F Examiner)

Report: City housing production down in 2020

While home sale prices went up last year, a new city report shows San Francisco’s housing production — particularly for affordable units — took a hit.

San Francisco brought in 4,402 newly-constructed units in 2020, a 9 percent drop from 2019, according to a housing inventory report being considered by the Planning Commission today. on Thursday . With other units lost to demolitions, unit mergers and removal of illegal units, the net gain stands at 4,044 new units in housing stock — a 14 percent decrease from the previous year’s gains.

Overall, The City’s housing stock grew just 1 percent from 2019 to 2020, although put more optimistically, the new construction still represents a 35 percent increase from the 10-year average.

Median rent for a two-bedroom apartment also declined 21 percent to $3,570 a month. Meanwhile, the median price to buy a two-bedroom home went up 9 percent to $1.58 million, according to the Planning Department report.

“This significant drop in rent has been attributed in part to the outward migration of people from the city during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the report read.

Affordable housing, however, accounted for 20 percent of new units and declined significantly. The City gained 818 new affordable units in 2020, down 44 percent from 2019. About 56 percent of those are considered affordable to low-income households.

The new units represent a 21 percent decrease from the five-year average of 1,037 units annually.

The South of Market area accounted for 41 percent of new units and the Mission District 27 percent.

Other aspects of the housing pipeline also saw a decrease. The Department of Building Inspection authorized 6 percent less construction in 2020 compared to 2019. Meanwhile, projects proposed to bring 3,454 units were filed at the Planning Department in 2020, down 12 percent from the previous year.

But the Planning Department fully entitled and approved 7,332 units — a whopping 153 percent bump in gross units compared to 2019.

The 2,767 units authorized for construction in San Francisco represent 16 percent of the 17,696 newly-approved units in the Bay Area last year. Alameda County accounted for 21 percent of the units, Santa Clara made up 20 percent, and Contra Costa County also made up 16 percent.

On the low end, San Mateo County made up 6 percent of the region’s authorized units, while Marin and Napa counties accounted for just 1 percent of authorized units, which were almost exclusively single-family homes.

San Francisco has met 84 percent of its five-year production goals under its current Regional Housing Needs Allocation, which runs through 2022. The City has exceeded goals for high income-households and still needs to build 6,855 units for moderate, low, and very low-income households.

In 2020, the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development and Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure acquired or rehabilitated 405 units.

The City’s condominium stock also increased 61 percent from 2019 to 6,987 units, most of which have 20 or more units. Numbers come from the Department of Public Works, which logs both construction and conversions, and may include incomplete projects, the Planning report noted.

Condo conversions were also down by 48 percent between 2019 and 2020.

The Planning Department will also present updates to the commission on its housing plan, the first to center on racial and social equity. The eight-year plan, in a period of outreach, launched a website to offer ways for the public to share housing priorities. A draft of goals and proposed policies will come next before the department reaches out for more feedback.


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