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SF, San Jose regions building 11,300-plus homes this year

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San Francisco has tens of thousands of units in production, but only a fraction ready to deliver

A tower of the Bay Bridge, visible between a long corridor of high-rises. Via Shutterstock

According to the city’s housing inventory report, San Francisco’s housing production tanked in 2018.

Even as the city authorized more than 6,000 new units in an attempt to keep up with lingering demand, only more than 2,600 actually got built.

Last week, the rental site RENT Cafe, employing data from the data firm Yardi Matrix, peered into the future and estimated that for 2019 San Francisco will double that rate of production, projecting a final SF figure of 5,334 new homes by the end of the year.

That’s based on the number of new building projects under construction with an estimated completion date by the end of 2019.

The catch: Those numbers refer not to San Francisco itself, but to the larger San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward census area, which, of course, makes them seem much less impressive.

However, since housing is a regional issue, and since production in one area can help relieve pressure in another, it’s useful having a potential reference figure for both San Francisco and the near East Bay.

The site also projects 6,044 new units in the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara region for this year.

Combined, the Bay Area’s largest cities and immediate surrounding areas would churn out 11,378 new units by year’s end. However, the real number would end up higher still than the that figure, since “the study is exclusively based on apartment data related to buildings containing 50 or more units [...] which have a completion date projected for 2019.”

The San Francisco Planning Department’s own Housing Pipeline Report—last updated in June of this year—estimates 72,865 net new homes in some phase of production in the city.

Of those, 8,500 are marked as “under construction.” Another 9,095 have permits but are not yet being built. An additional 7,742 have filed for permits that are not approved yet.

By far the single largest category is “major multi-phased projects,” those developments that will take years or decades to complete, such as Treasure Island, Hunters Point, and Mission Rock.

Combined, these account for 29,500 net units, more than 40.48 percent of the total “pipeline” units, meaning that the tantalizing total of nearly 73,000 won’t manifest in whole until at least 2035.

Candlestick Point features the single largest grouping of projected new units, with 9.308 in the works.

Treasure Island is next, with 7,676 net units in process. Parkmerced is third, expecting, 4,666.

Note that these figures represent the net gain in new homes, not the total built. Treasure Island’s total construction count is over 8,000, and Parkmerced’s over 7,800.

The city’s count of net new units added for 2019 won’t be out until spring 2020.