Saturday, September 26, 2020
Uncategorized A little reality about the housing market in SF

A little reality about the housing market in SF


By Tim Redmond

Michael Yarne, a developer, former mayoral advisor and advocate for increased housing construction in San Francisco, has a metaphor for what economists call The Market: It is, he told a forum this site helped sponsor Nov. 7, a river: You can’t fight its flow, and if you don’t learn to swim in it, you’re going to drown.

Now: I have often said that ecology and economics have a lot in common, starting with the fact that nobody really understands either one. But there’s a big difference – and when we talk about the San Francisco housing market, it’s a critical one.

A river is a natural system. When humans mess with it, they tend to screw it up. The economy – for example, the housing market in San Francisco – is an artificial construct, something humans developed to solve the essential problem of who gets what and how. We created the housing market, and we can change it; in fact, we can control it. The economy works for us; we don’t work for it.

And in this case, the only way to make the market work is to strictly regulate it. (more after the jump)

Marke B.
Marke Bieschke is the publisher and arts and culture editor of 48 Hills. He co-owns the Stud bar in SoMa. Reach him at marke (at), follow @supermarke on Twitter.


  1. “This is my home, the place where my family lives, where my daughter and me spend days painting her bedroom to get it just exactly right, where we grow vegetables in the back yard and I can ride my bike everywhere I want to go. Take your money and shove it; I live here.”

    Sounds like a nice life you got by being born at a time that allowed you to have the good fortune to time your real estate purchase. Maybe you should recognize your privilege before you attack the privilege of others.

  2. You picked up on a common rationalization for developers doing whatever they please: that it is “natural” – that it is just an inevitable part of the way “Nature” works. It is a way of deflecting all personal responsibility for what they are doing.

  3. Your suggestion that the City could bar people (using an example of a software engineer making $200,000 a year) from moving here and that he should live in Antioch and “get in line” strikes me as untenable and straining credulity.

    Who would regulate that? Are you going to set up a commission of progressives to vet people? What about the homeless — are they barred from the city borders, too? Come on. San Francisco isn’t a private club surrounded by a moat.

  4. Your perspective is appreciated but too deeply buried. Since brevity is the soul… I’d suggest omitting every sentence prior to “If the state Legislature would give us the tools…” The rest is pedantry and platitudes.

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