State Blasts San Francisco’s Housing Recalcitrance
No wonder San Francisco’s housing crisis seems worse than anywhere else. A scathing report by the California Department of Housing and Community Development released this week found that it takes 10 months longer to get housing approved in San Francisco than any other city in the state. Ten months! And things only get worse from there. The report found that it takes an average of 605 days for an entitled project to then get a building permit, almost 200 more days on average than anywhere else.
The report (read more in the San Francisco Chronicle ) also found that at least 18 city policies and practices are out of compliance with state law. San Francisco may be the worst offender when it comes to putting up bureaucratic and other barriers to new housing, but it certainly isn’t alone. That’s why the Bay Area Council in recent years has sponsored and supported at least two dozen bills focused on streamlining local housing approvals, holding cities accountable for meeting their housing obligations and increasing enforcement and penalties for inaction.
The consequences of practices like those in San Francisco are stark, according to analysis by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute. From January 2022 to September 2023, the Economic Institute analysis found that San Francisco permitted only 296 units of housing per 100,000 people (or 2,391 units total), one of the lowest per capita housing production rates in the country, and the lowest of any major peer city. San Francisco isn’t the only city underproducing housing — other cities in the region and elsewhere in California are also lagging behind. Meanwhile, rapidly growing cities like Austin, Nashville, and Denver have permitted 5-10x as much housing as San Francisco on a per capita basis. To engage in the Council’s housing policy work, please contact Policy Director Louis Mirante.