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SF built homes for new residents twice as fast as rest of state in 2016

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We doubled the state average, even as population swelled to 874,228

High rises and construction cranes near the Bay Bridge. Photo by Mark Schwettman

California’s Department of Finance reported this week that the state and its major metro center continued growing in population in 2016, including to 874,288 people in San Francisco as of January 2017, a net gain of more than 9,300 for the year.

The same report also says San Francisco led the way in housing construction in 2016, adding 5,114 net new units to accommodate the newcomers, almost all of them (5,065) in multi-family buildings.

That’s second in volume to Los Angeles, which built 16,574. But San Francisco’s housing gain adds up to one unit per 1.82 new residents, whereas LA built at a rate of only one home per 2.5.

Photo by Sheila Fitzgerald

The other big builders—San Diego, Irvine, and San Jose—built at a rate of one per 2.6 people or more. Overall, the state added about 335,000 people and built about 89,000 homes, about one per 3.76 people, meaning we doubled the median state rate last year.

Oakland added just about 3,000 people in 2016, swelling to just over 426,000. San Jose added nearly 10,000 new residents too, for a total population of just over 1.04 million.

As always, population estimates are a hit and miss process. But this is in line with the U.S. Census’ own best stab at it, which pegged the city at just under 871,000 halfway through 2016.

As SF Weekly observes, San Francisco appears on track to reach a population of 1 million people in less than two decades, although it’s possible growth may slow before then.

Just a week ago, Redfin chimed in on a chorus of voices suggesting that California in general and the Bay Area in particular are leaking residents in 2017.

Time will tell if this manifests in smaller gains for the year or if the statisticians are made a mistake calculating whose number is up—although of course, it’s entirely possible to both lose existing residents at increasing rates and still break records for net gains.