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New San Francisco home production drops 12 percent year over year

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Even though 2017 was still one of the city’s most productive years for new housing—ever

Photo by Alexey Ulashchick

The San Francisco Planning Department released the city’s 2017 Housing Inventory this week, reporting how many new homes SF managed to produce last year as the housing crisis intensified.

Whether or not the news is good depends on your expectations: On the one hand, 2017 represented a decline of nearly 600 homes compared to the gains of 2016. On the other hand, it was still one of the city’s most productive years ever, at least in terms of the actual net change in available housing:

  • “There was a net addition of 4,441 units to the City’s housing stock in 2017, a 12 percent decrease from 2016’s net addition,” city planners write, also noting that housing construction itself—which resulted in 4,511 completed homes last year—was down 14 percent compared to 2015.
  • Note that the downturn wasn’t for lack of trying: “In 2017, over 6,700 units were authorized for construction, representing a 65% increase from 2016.” But of course, few of those were homes that could be completed in the same year.
  • However, 2017 was still a pretty good year for new construction. The net number of new homes gained was fewer than in 2016, but still higher than any other year since 1998 besides 2016. In fact, 2017 accounted for more than 9.67 percent of the city’s entire net housing gain (45,910 units) in that 20 year period.
         By meunierd
  • Overall, San Francisco represented 21 percent of all of the new units authorized (but not necessarily actually built) in 2017 in the Bay Area, whereas the city accounts for less than 1.5 percent of the region’s overall population. For comparison, Santa Clara County was responsible for 34 percent of units authorized but about 25 percent of the Bay Area’s population, while Alameda County was about 21 percent of new units as well as population.
  • “By the end of 2017, there were approximately 392,000 dwelling units in the city,” according to the Planning Department, or roughly one per every 2.2 San Franciscans, depending on which population estimate you defer to. Put another way, the city ended up with one new additional home in 2017 per roughly every 1.8 new San Franciscans who moved here since 2016.

You can read the full report, including a breakdown of the types of homes available and under construction, here.