New homebuilding permits in San Francisco down since pandemic
San Francisco issued fewer permits to build new homes in May compared to May 2020, per a new Axios analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.
Why it matters: A post-pandemic nationwide housing shortage is keeping prices high.
- Recent estimates from Freddie Mac indicate the U.S. is short about 3.8 million units of housing, either for rent or purchase, Axios' Emily Peck reports.
- A bump in new home construction, however, could bring prices down — it's basic supply and demand.
What's happening: Just over 25 new homebuilding permits per 100,000 residents were issued in San Francisco this May, down from nearly 32 in May 2020 — the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Axios' Kavya Beheraj and Alex Fitzpatrick report.
- Of the 1,198 total permits, 405 were issued for single-family homes, 10 for buildings with up to four units, and 783 for those with five or more units.
The big picture: Nationwide, about 42 new permits per 100,000 residents were issued in May, up from roughly 33 in May 2020.
Context: San Francisco must create more than 82,000 new housing units over the next eight years as part of a state-mandated plan.
- The plan also requires nearly 46,600 of those units be for low- and moderate-income households.
- In an attempt to hit those mandates, Mayor London Breed is seeking to reduce barriers in the city's permitting and approval processes, remove some density restrictions and more.
What to watch: Breed and Supervisor Aaron Peskin introduced legislation last month that would reduce affordable housing requirements in new rental and condominium buildings, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
- The city currently requires housing developers to make about 22% of rental units and 24% of condos priced below market rate. For new projects proposed in the next three years, for example, the new legislation would change that percentage to 15%.
- "I'm hopeful that this is going to move the needle," Peskin said.
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