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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

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UncategorizedSF is almost losing ground on affordable housing

SF is almost losing ground on affordable housing

The mayor talks about what’s being built — but not what’s being lost


By Tim Redmond

MARCH 11, 2015 — San Francisco isn’t coming anywhere near close to its affordable housing goals and is actually close to losing ground, a new study shows.

The Anti-Eviction Mapping Project has tracked the gain in new below-market housing – the units that the city has managed to build – but also the loss – the number of affordable rent-controlled units destroyed by evictions and TIC or condo conversions.

The data shows that the city has lost nearly as many units as it’s gained. Since 2007, 4,978 affordable units have been produced. In the same period, 3,278 have been lost.

That leaves a net gain of just 1,700 units.

The city’s stated goal was to build more than 12,000 units during that period. But between the limited money put into affordable housing, and the rampant loss of rent-controlled apartments, the actual increase was only about 14 percent of the goal.

That’s disturbing, to say the least. And it calls into question how effective the mayor will be at reaching a goal of 30,000 new housing units at 30 percent affordability.

Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.
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  1. Uh, oh. Looks like Redmond has deleted all comments, just like the Guardian did before going out of business. Was there no way to preserve the comment archive before going to Disques?

  2. I am gratified that you are picking up some things from me, although my patience for providing free tutoring has its limits, and you may have to start paying me soon.

  3. There are similarities. Never said there weren’t. But how a professor simplifies it for his junior-year students might not be as nuanced as I demand

  4. As noted, that is not true in the sense that it would be for a non-controlled building. With rent control, other factors are relevant, including the prognosis for the tenants, based n their age and other factors

  5. And actuarial data on tenant age has no bearing on the rents that can be charged over time, I see. At the end of the day, the purchase price of a rent controlled building is determined by the rental sincome tream.

  6. Greycat336, when the Tobin Professor of Econ at Yale says ‘[t]he most important callable bond is the fixed rate amortizing mortgage,’ it’s pretty conclusive that the world sees mortgages as callable bonds.

    Pace Teen Talk Barbie, math class is not tough.

  7. Oh, Greycat338, you big lug. It is still the affluent whom we give most housing subsidies. There are a good number of them. There are vanishingly few very rich, and the deduction is capped.

  8. There is a nice lecture here:

    ‘The most important callable bond is the fixed rate amortizing mortgage; calling a mortgage means prepaying your remaining balance.’

    That credit and liquidity factor into spreads is Bond 101 stuff. The prepayment option is where you find the real action in mortgages.

  9. And there shouldn’t be affordable homes in the city of SF. They can go elsewhere to “afford” them.

  10. A tax deduction is a subsidy. Kinda anyway.

    You have to prove your theory in the real world. You have not and, in fact, I can think of no method by which you could

  11. No:

    A mortgage is not callable before the end of its term. It is putable, however.

    Some mortgages do not amortize.

    A mortgage bears more credit risk

    A mortgage is illiquid, and therefore requires a premium price.

  12. Greycat145, the middle class takes the standard deduction and gets no subsidy. It is the affluent whom we give most housing subsidies.

    The very rich get them, too, but are so rich they would never significantly change their behavior over a mere $200,000 net present value.

  13. Whiner, you are agreeing with Sam.

    Housing tax breaks like mortgage interest deductibility help only the middle class. The rich pay cash and the poor rent.

  14. Sam, thanks for not using ‘Guest’.

    Fairness is subjective, but instinctive. Excluding the vast middle from the largest housing subsidies in the US does not seem fair.

    The very richest don’t enter into this conversation. A tax shield on a max $1m is invisible.

  15. Greycat123, breaking a law that is not enforced is not without risk. Openly breaking laws can have repercussions with employers, clients, friends, spouses and children.

    Survey research is a well developed science. The folks at the Census Bureau are as good as it gets. If the ACS were 100% wrong, it would be immediately obvious. Instead, when you test the ACS microdata, they ring absolutely true.

    It isn’t just a good idea for the city to build a database of all homes in the city, it’s the law. See:

  16. “Unfair” is subjective.

    Those who pay the most tax always have the biggest tax breaks available to them, obviously.

    And taxes have to be borne very broadly to keep rates low and ensure that the very richest don’t just duck.

  17. Nobody claimed the response rate wasn’t high. The claims made were:

    1) There is no downside to breaking a law that is not enforced

    2) You have no benchmark by which you can measure how accurate the census is or is not. The census is the benchmark and cannot benchmark itself against any higher authority. If it were 100% wrong, you would have no idea.

    3) We are discussing this because someone here thought it was a good idea for the city to build a database of all homes in Sf and who lives in the, It isn’t a good idea.

  18. You’re laboring the point. TIC formation may be less probable in a building with market rents. But it doesn’t follow from that that rental buildings are priced purely in terms of rents. There are also qualitative factors.

    In the end, a building is worth what someone will pay you for it, and not what your theories suggest it might be.

  19. Greycat1247, the ACS response rate averaged 97% for the ten years ending 2012. The shutdown affected one quarter. Still, let’s include it: then the ten-year number ending 2013 is 96%.

    How does a 96% rate change the fact that people overwhelmingly respond to the ACS?

  20. So you agree with this: “If rent controlled units were close to market when converted to TIC, then the purchase price of the building would have reflected that income stream and it would have been a less likely candidate for conversion to TIC”


  21. No, the first Guest is correct. SF controlled rental properties are valued and priced according to very case-specific factors, including an assessment of the probability of gaining vacant possession. Age is a factor in that

  22. This was a conversation about the valuation of rent controlled units based on the presence of near market rate tenants, not seniors who have below market rate rents. Why are you compelled to change the subject when you are proven wronger than wrong?

  23. Whiner, why is it unfair that those who pay the most tax might have the biggest ability to take deductions?

  24. Greycat10:33, I cited the 2012 rate.

    ‘As a result of the 2013 government shutdown, the ACS did not have a second mailing, a telephone followup, or a person followup operation for the October 2013 housing unit panel… if we exclude the October panel from the calculation, the annual housing unit response rate rises to 97.1%.’

    The 2013 rate is comparable if you exclude the panel affected by the shutdown.

    Facts. They’re stubborn little fellas.

  25. Greycat10:25, nobody can afford to put a dent in $400 billion of mortgage subsidies.

    The average housing voucher here is $15,000, and about 8,000 low income households get them. There are three times as many high income households here with mortgage subsidies in that range.

    ..and folks in the middle get bupkis.

    That doesn’t seem fair.

  26. Guest, Whiner just argues for the sake of being ornery. He really doesn’t care what policies we have since he is a comfortably affluent white male with too much time on his hands, playing a liberal devil’s advocate.

    IOW, a troll.

  27. Walnut Creek, why TF did you lie about the response rate? It’s going down, not up, it did not get a 97% response rate in 2013 but a 89% response rate. That’s almost 10% LESS than the year before. As I stated people hate the American Community Survey as it’s Orwellian & there never WILL be penalties to not filling it out either, the GOP will make sure of that.


  28. Whiner, what do you mean “nobody can afford that”? I gave you an example. I have to pay over $10k for property tax & you’re advocating the end of prop 13, I’m suggesting you pay the $12k for prop tax because that’s what it will be up in Bernal Heights for your property. And I get $20k back in the form of mortgage interest as a perk. BFD, I still pay a big amount in my monthly mortgage and I still pay a fuckload to the feds and the state. And it’s still a struggle. I’m not advocating the end of prop 13, you are and it’s quite the hypocrisy when you say “nobody can afford it”, you are advocating the end of some tax perks that YOU can’t afford to leave behind.

  29. Your computation is theoretical only. You have no real-world data to prove that the effect that you claim actually exists.

    As noted, other nations that do not have interest deductibility have very similar RE valuations.

    Regardless, your idea is a political non-starter and you know it

  30. Sam, NPV calcs are not difficult. At a 43% marginal rate, the net present value discounting at 3% of the mortgage interest deduction on a $1m mortgage at 3.5% fixed, is $195,910.

    That’s no ‘postulation’, just math.

    Interest deductibility is probably not the top single factor making SF expensive, but if it’s larding 15% on top of median properties, it’s top five.

  31. 1) There is no downside to breaking a law that is not enforced

    2) You have no benchmark by which you can measure how accurate the census is or is not. The census is the benchmark and cannot benchmark itself against any higher authority. If it were 100% wrong, you would have no idea.

    3) We are discussing this because someone here thought it was a good idea for the city to build a database of all homes in Sf and who lives in the, It isn’t a good idea.

  32. When all candles be out, all cats be grey.

    1, the downsides to nonresponse involve all the usual risks of breaking the law.
    2, the data are quite reliable in most cases; the Census is very good at its job
    3, the Census is in the Constitution, the founding document of the United States

    Nothing about it resembles a ‘big brother database’. There are three-letter acronyms that make sense here, like NSA, NRO or NGA.

    There is no government data collection program more ‘American’ than the Census.

  33. Yes, either we do what the boosters say or else we want the the worst of the total opposite of what boosters want.

  34. San Francisco does not have the transportation infrastructure, electrical grid, internet availability, sewage system, educational institutions, medical facilities, or food distribution networks to serve the needs of the current population, let alone 100,000 more people.

  35. That was a different Guest from me who said that. What I said was:

    1) There is no real downside to not completing the form

    2) The data is unreliable in many cases

    3) Americans do not want a big brother database about them

  36. Whiner, your numbers are postulations, not quantifications.

    SF RE is pricey because of well known reasons. Mortgage interest deductibility is probably not in the top ten factors, for all the reasons I have cited.

    But carry on with your quixotic crusade. It’s a slow day here.

  37. The assertion was, ‘[n]o one fills [the ACS] out except for Obama-loving socialist hippie idiots.’

    Seems almost all of us are.

  38. Rent control was passed in response to Angelo Sangiacomo’s raising of rents on 5000 San Francisco rental units in 1978, not in response to Prop 13.

  39. Sam, how is quantifying the present value of the deduction not a datum?

    When subsidies flow to sellers, they do not drive price movements, just price levels. The evidence on price levels is clear: San Francisco is one of the most unaffordable markets in the world.

  40. Irrelevant to my points which were:

    1) There is no real downside to not completing the form

    2) The data is unreliable in many cases

    3) Americans do not want a big brother database about them

  41. Guest7:11, if you get 97 responses to 100 surveys, you have 97% response. The accuracy of that number is perfect. Just divide.

  42. I prefer data to wild speculations. Otherwise similar nations which allow no tax deduction for mortgage interest have similar levels of home price inflation.

    Anyway, the sole objective of any policy is not to make homes artificially cheap.

  43. Sam, market clearing prices are set by marginal buyers, and marginal buyers get the deduction. Cash offers, like no contingency bids, just want a discount in return for deal certainty.

    Still, let’s entertain the idea. Ten bids, three all cash. The others get the deduction. $1m mortgage at 3.5%, 43% fed+state tax rate, discount at 3%, NPV of the deduction is around $200k.

    How does the cash buyer not have to beat a deduction-boosted bid? All it takes is one.

    The deduction raises prices in San Francisco, but not in most of the rest of the country. Canada and UK house price booms are not relevant.

  44. Whiner, you could donate your tax deductions and Prop 13 savings to a cause that helps with housing, but you do not.

    People would respect you much more if you did something tangible to help, rather than endlessly whine that others do not.

    nobody cares what laws you think we should have. They care about what actions you take. Talk is cheap.

  45. The statistic that matters is how accurate that 97% alleged number is. I’m guessing not very, and there is no way to verify that.

    Not completing the form may be a technical infringement of some regulation. But since it is not enforced, the situation is no different than if no such regulation existed.

    I have NEVER been counted by the census as an adult.

  46. Guest5:57, response rate has nothing to do with undercounts. You send out a survey. People respond. Measuring the response rate is elementary school arithmetic, simple division.

    The Census can do simple division. 97% of ACS surveys got a response in 2012.

    As for penalties, please see http://www.census.gov/econ/census/faqs.html#q7

    ‘The census law.. coupled with the Sentencing Reform Act.. provides for penalties of up to $5,000 for failure to report, and $10,000 for intentionally providing false information.’

    There is no requirement that anyone follow through, but failing to respond is against the law, and the law provides for penalties.

  47. Guest5:49, we should do as I do: scrupulously follow the tax code, and do our duty as citizens to try to change it for the better.

    Guest5:51, are you talking to me? If so, please don’t tell me what side I am on. As for CCHO, while laudable, it’s small. CCHO’s full nearly forty-year history produced fewer units than we needed to add over the past five years.

    San Francisco probably needs to build 50,000 new units, more or less yesterday.

  48. You’d notice that all of the activist “media” covering the Maximus community benefits fiasco did nothing but provide photo ops to the same nonprofiteer usual suspects which can then be used for more grant applications to the City and foundations who want agitation so long as nothing changes to show how they really are organizing the community!

  49. Petrelis, interesting that you can tell that “Guest” is marcos, just from his tired, dreary, repetitive platitudes.

  50. Whiner, many homes sales in SF are all-cash. There is no factor there.

    The deduction may drive some RE inflation, but interest is not deductible in Canada or the UK, and both have had very similar house price booms, so the real driver is something else

  51. Whiner, there is no way to know how many people the census doesn’t count, because it is the census that comes up with that number.

    Illegals, for instance, are massively under-counted.

    And there are no penalties for not completing the survey. I have stood on my doorstep and told the bureaucrat that we won’t fill in the form, and he told me there would be consequences. There were none.

  52. Sam, to a first approximation, the deduction helps zero aspiring homebuyers. The data indicate that in most markets, homebuyers use it to buy bigger homes. In markets like ours, they bid up prices and the deduction goes to sellers.

    Guest4:54, the deduction helps the homebuilding industry and increases prices realized by house sellers. Housing finance is broken; when it comes to mortgages, banks are a nonstory.

  53. Older tenants tend to have lower rents for the simple reason that they have been in their home for decades.

    So the estimate of how much longer they will live is a critical factor in determining how much to pay for their unit. If they are old enough, the actual rent hardly matters – it is the time value of their remaining years.

    That may not mean death, but could also mean them going into care or a hospice, or no longer being able to climb stairs.

  54. Guest5:04, the ACS is mandatory. It is totally harmless. Its data live with the Census, the cuddliest civil servants ever. To call it an invasive Orwellian survey is to describe puppies and kittens as the Stasi and the NKVD.

    When someone refuses to respond to the ACS, he has broken the law. The fact that there are no penalties doesn’t change that.

    The ACS response rate was 97% in 2012, so I gather we are all Obama-loving socialist hippies out there. Those 3% must be lonely..

  55. CCHO is on the side of creating 90 affordable homes.

    You are on the side of creating zero affordable homes.

    That is why they have influence and you do not

  56. Sam, nobody is that wealthy. That is why we have government in the first place. Aside from its Hobbesian functions, it solves collective action problems too big for individuals.

    Offering (scare quotes!) “NOTHING of [my] own” is what everyone does when we vote. We elect people to (more scare quotes!) “mandate that others are forced to” do things.

    Some of us call this ‘democracy’.

    A citizen expressing policy preferences to others need not ‘lead by example.’ To argue that not doing so detracts from his credibility strikes me as charging admission to talk politics.

    In elementary school, taught me was this is a free country that prizes free speech.

    Sam2, if you don’t work for the IRS, please keep your nose out of my 1040.

  57. Marc, I hate when you burst my rainbow bubble! But this is Oz and we’re following the Yellowbrick Road to the Emerald City where the Grand Wizards Tom Ammiano and Tim Redmond will work their magic.

    The biggest obstacle facing the progressive community is, well, the progressive community.

    The dysfunction and failure of Plaza 16 is proof that the same old way of the same tired old circle of paid community organizers and NGOs and the Milk Club group-think, with Redmond serving as the mouthpiece, ain’t doing a damn thing to save what is left of the culturally and politically diverse Mission.

    We suffered more electoral losses in November, David Campos is the Inspector Clouseau of Silly Hall, lotta little activist groups and whatnot operating in their own orbits and occasionally uniting for big actin, no Mission wide umbrella coordinating group and no realistic agenda for effecting lasting change has been presented and adopted.

    Sorry, but for all the fabulousness of 400 people shouting down Maxiumus and the sugar high of constructive disruption of March 4th, the next morning when Mayor “Ron Conway” Lee staged his photo op at the homeless navigation center _directly_ across from 1979 Mission, not a single Plaza 16 activist was there with a flyer or a zap.

    Sure, the nonprofits knew about the photo op and were invited, the same damn nonprofits who send their paid community organizers to co-opt any nascent grassroots effort, and they didn’t inform Plaza 16 members who might have shown up at the Mayor’s event with at least a flyer and a picket.

    Yep, on March 5th the voices of Plaza 16 were silent as the Mayor cut the ribbon on the center and the nonprofit folks in attendance applauded his Potemkin village.

    With this kind of lazy organizing, Maximus has nothing to worry about in the long run.

  58. I think that it is great that CCHO is coming out as having hedged its own particular interests by doing the dirty work for developers and speculators at the expense of the communities they’ve forcibly spoken for and which are vanishing before their eyes.

    CCHO has, like Campos, have declared loud and clear which side they are on.

  59. The ACS is an invasive Orwellian survey. No one fills it out except idiots. Yes, we’ve had one sent to our house, it asks things like what time do you leave for work, how many bathrooms are in your house, And yes the gov’t pushes to get it done. Well, we threw it away. Next they Fed Ex it to your house. We threw it away. Next they call your house. We threw it away, next they send the gestapo to your door. It is not illegal to not fill it out, we checked the internet. There will be NO FINES, they can’t take you court, and they can’t put you in jail. No one fills it out except for Obama-loving socialist hippie idiots.

  60. In general the actuarial data does not come into play with people paying near market rate rent, does it as they tend to be people who can/will throw $4K/mo at rent. Most who would do that are younger than to where those actuarial scenarios play out.

  61. The mortgage interest income tax deduction helps the banks and finance industry more than any individual human beings.

  62. BMR’s can rent at market rate, and do, see my earlier past example. And that is one reason so many people get on those lists. They pay their tiny rates, they rent them out at market rates and live elsewhere. How is that actually fair? When they sell they need to keep it in the BMR zone so most of them rent it out.

  63. Walnut Creek, you’re up in Bernal, so that means your prop tax should be $12,000 a year but since you bought years ago your prop tax is prob $2k or $3k or less? What is stopping you from adding that extra $ to the coffers of the CA state govt? As for mortgage interest deductions, it goes down every year you own your home. And so, why not pay that $10k or $20 that you’re paying to the state and/or fed government? Nothing is stopping you from donating $30k a year to the feds. IWe’ll wait for your reply.

  64. Whiner, I never suggested that you single-handedly could solve the city’s housing problems by offering up your tax savings and deductions. You’re not that wealthy, clearly.

    But the fact that you offer NOTHING of your own while seeking to mandate that others are forced to, does rather detract from your credibility on this idea.

    Why not lead by example rather than dictate? Walk your talk.

  65. No, you misunderstand the point of the tax breaks. As we agree, they do not benefit established homeowners. But they do greatly help those aspiring to buy and those who have bought recently.

    And the point, remember, is to encourage people taking a risk and buying a home.

  66. Right — not only do most house-rich, cash-poor seniors not itemize, but most mortgages are too small to crack the standard deduction.

    That’s what makes the subsidy so extremely stupid: it is very, very large and it goes exactly to the people who least need it: high income homeowners who can afford million-dollar mortgages.

    That’s also why the deduction has no effect on ownership. There just aren’t that many high income homeowners who can afford large mortgages to move the ownership needle much.

    If you want to encourage homeownership through tax breaks, you should be in favor of replacing the deduction with a refundable credit.

  67. Oh, Sam. Checkboxes on a 1040 don’t turn donations into taxes. They’re still donations.

    The mortgage interest deduction is going to cost the country around $400 billion over the next five years. Even the Walton heirs can’t write that check.

    There are smart arguments against these policies. Suggesting an individual cover large government subsidies is not one of them.

  68. False, Whiner. The tax return has tick boxes where you can donate to various causes.

    And you can always send a check for the equivalent amount of your Prop 13 saving, or mortgage interest or property tax deduction, direct to the charity, non-profit or government department that you wish to support.

    You do not, I note.

  69. Assuming that Millie has paid off her mortgage, as most that age have done, then there is no real subsidy. In fact most house-rich, cash-poor seniors probably do not itemize and therefore cant/dont take the property tax deduction anyway

    Owning a home is generally better for long-term financial security, so we should encourage that, through tax breaks and other incentives

  70. Seniors may be relatively more affluent, but that median net worth seems slender. A 70-year-old with another 14 years to live isn’t getting much from $230k net worth, even if it’s not home equity.

    It strikes me as good policy to support people as they age. What I dislike is supporting Aunt Millie, who owns a home, but not providing equivalent support to Aunt Ruth, who doesn’t.

  71. Sam, nobody can volunteer to pay more tax. The tax law has to change first. Paying more without a change in the law is a gift, not a tax.

    Words have meaning.

  72. Exactly. And note that even the over-75’s are twice as affluent as the 45-54’s.

    Throwing money at someone simply because they are old is ridiculous.

  73. It’s very odd. Redmond supports rent control, knowing that it is bad for landlords. But then he seems surprised that every year there are less and less controlled units available for rental.

    Can he really not see the relationship between the two? And how it is the very policies that he supports that deters owners from becoming or staying landlords? Thereby driving up rents?

  74. I don’t know that Fieber agitates about anything. I’m certainly not aware of anything she has achieved.

    But she does a good whne

  75. Whiner, you said you were willing to pay more tax to help with affordable housing.

    Yet you could do that now and choose not to.

  76. WC, the AEMP’s numbers for the loss of affordable housing are totally wrong. Mostly because they do not even define the term.

    For AEMP, a no-fault eviction = a loss of an affordable unit even if the owner then re-rents it at an affordable rent.

    There is in fact no good way of computing that loss, because it has been ill-defined.

  77. The value of a rental building in SF is not so much a function of the rents but more a function of the probability of getting vacancies and/or a change of use.

    This can have some odd effects. For instance, if the tenants are over 62, the building will be worth less because they are harder to evict (can’t do an OMI, for instance).

    But then if they are over 82, the value might be quite high, as their remaining life expectancy is of short duration.

    The valuation of controlled buildings in SF is an art form. Outside of SF it is easy – just a function of the rents, as you note.

  78. If rent controlled units were close to market when converted to TIC, then the purchase price of the building would have reflected that income stream and it would have been a less likely candidate for conversion to TIC.

  79. The AEMP stats are fine. They look like Planning’s numbers for BMR/BMP and the Rent Board’s for OMI/Ellis, which is fine. Where AEMP goes wrong is in equating and subtracting them.

  80. Okay, so … the primary sources of your woes appear to be: the Ellis Act, Prop 13, mortgage interest deductions, and state bans on local taxes.

    Perhaps all your agitation within the city of SF and its government is woefully misplaced.

  81. There must be arguments even less persuasive than ‘why don’t you just pay it yourself,’ but I am struggling to think of them.

    Paying more individually does not change the fairness of tax burdens. Only tax law does that.

  82. Not really. Ellis had a single, simple, constitutional-affirming purpose – to ensure that a property owner could never be forced to run a rental business against his will.

    Costa-Hawkins was considerably more complex, because it’s purpose was to address all the problems of rent control without the exit that Ellis allows (Ellis passed about 10 years before C-H)

    So C-H exempted various categories of buildings from rent control (SFH’s and condo – sadly not small 2-4 buildings where the owner lived), It stopped the perpetually revolving roommate nonsense. It prevented cities from ever imposing rent control on a building previously exempted.

    But the two most important provisions were banning vacancy control and banning rent control from applying to new build.

    IIRC, it had broad bi-partisan support. And nobody talks about repealing it so it presumably still does.

  83. Whiner, you are free to pay the difference between your Prop 13 tax and the “true” tax due now. You can simply send that amount to a non-profit or charity that helps the under-housed.

    Yet you do not.

    Nor does Redmond, Welch, Hestor, or are very own marcos.

    Greg rents so he gets a pass.

  84. The AEMP stats are not just wrong because they are amateurs. They are wrong because they are biased and see what they want to see.

    You would never expect unbiased data from an advocacy group, and this shows that same degree of skew.

    Most Americans do not favor a Big Brother database of who lives where

  85. Mandatory voting works fine, unless you think of Australia as an authoritarian dystopia.

    I’ll leave survey research to the professionals, but I will say, I trust ACS data an order of magnitude more than I trust the Eviction Mapping guys, and it’s not like the EM guys are stupid; they’re just not pros.

    The Census Bureau is really good at its job.

  86. I would be happy to lose my prop 13 subsidy, my mortgage interest deduction and to pay income tax on my home’s equivalent rent so that strangers could find SF less unaffordable.

    Heck, I would be happy to do that even if it just meant the local and national tax burdens were shared somewhat more fairly.

    The evidence suggests that many people, perhaps even most, are not profit maximizing rational agents from some freshwater textbook.

  87. Costa-Hawkins passed because Roberti was no longer around to kill it in committee. The Ellis Act probably did pass due to Santa Monica.

  88. The Council of Community Housing Organizations should support theevelopment at 16th and Mission because it will create 90 affordable homes. Your idea of not building it would create zero homes.

  89. Both cases boil down to the same issue – money. If someone cannot afford to live in a certain place, then either someone else has to be found there who is willing to subsidize them OR that person has to move to a cheaper place.

    Ask folks if homes should be cheaper here, and most will agree. Ask folks to pay so some stranger can stay in Sf, and you’ll get a different answer

  90. Not sure how anyone can be forced to complete a survey. But even if they did, there is no guarantee that they will tell the truth.

    The more invasive a survey is, the less likely people are to be honest.

    Reminds me a little of the situation in a couple of countries where registering to vote (or even actually voting) is made mandatory. I doubt it works well.

  91. medalist, the problem with bad actors disproportionately spawning new laws cuts both ways though.

    The Ellis Act came about directly as a response to over-zealous attempts at regulating property rights in Santa Monica.

    While the Costa-Hawkins act was passed in response to some bad rental laws passed by Santa Monica and Berkeley (vacancy control) as well as SF allowing revolving roommate situations to create eternal controlled tenancies.

    Go too far and someone will pass a law about it.

  92. Guest9:48, sure. That’s an aggregate issue, though. The second someone asks another human being if he’s worth keeping around is the moment he becomes the Soylent Corporation.

    The only issue with pension funds, as with taxes, is allocation. We have plenty of productive capacity to fund retirement. What we don’t have is a reasonable and fair system to allocate the cost.

  93. Yeah, AEMP has counted no-fault evictions and assumed that corresponds to affordable homes “lost”. That is a ridiculous method of trying to measure affordability.

    In fact, the entire premise here is flawed. There is no reasonable basis for comparing new build to no-fault evictions because they are un-related. New build is constrained by NIMBYism and loss of cheap rentals is caused by rent control.

    The only thing that relates the two is that both problems are caused by bad policies – NIMBYism and rent control. Both policies that Redmond supports!

  94. There is no way to create a “register” of TIC’s because a TIC formation is not a sub-division or a change of use. Nor does it require any building changes. It is merely a form of ownership.

    If you look at the title of a building, you would not be able to tell whether it was a TIC (in the sense being discussed here) or not.

    More generally what you are suggesting is a vast Soviet-style inventory of who lives where. Very Big Brother and very undesirable

  95. The point is that you cannot exceed a certain ratio of non-productive folks to productive folks, without running into problems.

    Pension funds, both public and private, are facing this in spades

  96. The problem that people like Tim and Erin have is that they never engage in a genuine inquiry or investigation into the data, and then make conclusions from that.

    Rather, they start out with their conclusions and then retro-fit the data to suit their ideology.

    There are so many flaws with this data, it is totally useless. Yet Tim clings to it because he thinks it supports what he wants to do anyway regardless of any data

  97. I thought it was Guenter Kaussen that was the villain back then. Although I guess Skyline was the central broker for hiking rents and flipping.

  98. Good points. The city needs to establish a registration process for every housing unit not used as a primary residence and collect household composition and rent data at least annually. Without good data how does city government even know what is going on with its housing stock? A registration system helps ferret out short-term rental lawbreakers too, an added bonus.

  99. The rent control housing should be qualified whether it was “affordable” when it was “lost”. Many of those units could have been close to market when turned into TICs. It’s also worth noting that before the market took a big upswing TIC’s could be purchased for $500k for a 2br in many areas. Those sale figures should be included as affordable housing preserved.

  100. I think only Germany features a rent cap, and only in a few high rent areas, and only pretty recently. Germany had been under a vacancy decontrol scheme, like SF after Costa-Hawkins.

    Me, I much prefer using tax incentives. If the market needs high prices to clear, you can’t change that without building more housing. You can, however, capture some of the rent with a luxury tax and subsidize lower rents.

  101. It seems like one obvious distortion is that they are counting rent controlled evictions from 2007 as “lost”, even though somebody could have moved in and still paying 2007 rates.

    In general, if Tim Redmond says something and it isn’t sourced, I don’t believe it.

  102. Agreed, but the number of new build units can be easily determined. The number of controlled units “lost” is near impossible to determine, and I suspect AEMP are merely guessing, based on some fairly wild and unsubstantiated assumptions.

  103. Ah yes, another problem with the AEMP’s data is that they don’t count fires, which oddly happen only in older, controlled buildings.

  104. No, Guest, you are wrong. Most seniors pay a market rate or rent. And it is very common for people to relocate when they retire.

    The over 60’s are the most affluent group of Americans

  105. There is a cost to providing either, which why there are not unlimited numbers of either, in the way that there can be (at least in theory) with market-rate housing.

    If we had enough market rate housing, we would not need any subsidized housing. That is the ideal, but NIMBYism prevents it

  106. Note however that rent control doesn’t control the rental price, only increases to it. Some European nations control all rents, by relating it to the average rent or some determinant of “fairness”.

  107. ..and, every time a unit turns over, it rents at market rate. What controlled units offer is not affordability, but stability. BMR units are exempt from rent control; they offer low price, but not stability.

  108. Thanks, Guest6:00, this is roughly accurate. Though I doubt the Lembis had much to do with it; rent control passed around the same time in various other localities statewide, suggesting simple inflation as the cause.

    Reaction to inflation sticker shock also explains why no city made rent control part of a thoughtful housing program. If you control rental price, you need at minimum a public building program and probably also some tax incentives.

  109. Because the public policy choice has been made and is popular to subsidize seniors with a guaranteed income, health care and housing for a dignified retirement. It is public policy that seniors should “age in place” proximate to their social connections because that allows for the highest quality of life. There are two carve outs from the fair housing laws, one for people with AIDS/HIV and another for seniors because consensus public policy supports subsidizing seniors in exchange for their lifetime of work. You are wrong.

  110. Also, none of the data in the ‘study’ is sourced; either by Tim or the Anti Eviction Mapping Project.

    We’re not talking about people with a track record of presenting data in a reliable, trustworthy manner.

  111. Dale, a unit being rented out short-term is not lost to long-term housing. It may revert at any time.

    The study needs to differentiate between units lost totally, e.g. demolished or becoming exempt from rent control. And those units where there is simply a change of tenancy or resident, which may only be temporary.

  112. Tim, how does the AEMP calculate the number of rent-controlled units lost? I suspect their number is a wild speculation.

    The only numbers they are likely to know for a fact are the following:

    1) Units condo-converted
    2) Units Ellised
    3) Units undergoing a OMI or RMI
    4) Merges and demolitions of units

    However, in the first three of those, AEMP won’t know how many were re-rented later.

    AEMP cannot even know how many units have been converted to TIC’s, since that isn’t evident from sales details or title searches. There is no legal obligation to declare a TIC formation.

    But the biggest problem with AEMP’s number is that it is irrelevant. Rent-controlled units do not vanish at all. They are still around. It’s just that the residents have changed. Most units where the tenants leave are either re-rented or sold to a new owner, who either lives there or re-rents the unit.

    The true number of lost units is derived from mergers and demolitions. That figure is available from DBI and is very low

  113. Why would any existing resident oppose the build of new homes? It is those same residents who buy and rent those new homes

  114. Fieber, it is very common for older people to relocate somewhere for various reasons e.g. climate, living expenses, need for assistance, and so on.

    And there are walkable mall towns around the nation that are well suited for seniors.

    If you’re not contributing to the local economy, why do we need you here? And why should the rest of us subsidize you?

  115. fieber, rent control was not introduced as a response to Prop 13. It was introduced the following year but there was no clear relationship between the two.

    What is more accurate to say is that both were responses to the very high inflation at the time, which was causing large increases in both rent and property taxes.

    There was also a local robber baron landlord whose excessive tactics prompted some pushback

  116. A tenant voluntarily moving out doesn’t cause the unit to be lost. Why would anyone claim something so stupid?

  117. There is a whole cohort of people who get paid to do affordable housing and they get paid whether they achieve their policy goals or not. There is zero accountability and these individuals and their organizations have been coopted by the government and have been rendered useless.

    The San Francisco Information Clearing House exerts strong control over the messaging on affordable housing and has attacked anyone who offers an accurate or critical narrative. This is why the Urban IDEA forum excluded any public questioning of why we should trust people who’ve failed to win contested elections to guide what is left of the progressives towards victory this next year. Why did Tim Redmond who covered the event not ask any critical questions of his friends?

    Why has the Council of Community Housing Organizations, the affordable housing cartel, not come out against 1979 Mission?

    Why has the Council of Community Housing Organizations, the affordable housing cartel, not taken any steps to stop the march of the exclusive luxury condos in the Mission?

    Why do the Council of Community Housing Organizations and the associated poverty nonprofits eschew anything resembling community based planning, insisting that they and they alone speak for residents in this regard?

    Why is it that non-residents have more power within the governing coalition to speak for residents than residents do? Government is basically interloper commuters from elsewhere in the for-profit and non-profit sectors cutting deals with each other at the expense of residents.

    At the rate that housing politics is moving under this arrangement, the game is all but lost for the constituencies they claim to represent. Yet they still get paid even though they fail and they get more exercised deflecting demands for accountability they do in demanding equity from the neoliberal politicians like David Campos and developers.

    Newsflash: this is not the Wizard of Oz. It is not sufficient to click your heels together and enunciate your desires and expect them to materialize into reality.

  118. When you’re old and can’t get around real well, shall we throw you off a cliff? You’re obviously a waste that needs to get out of the way. Same logic.

  119. Rent control was a response to Prop 13. Eliminate that and mortgage interest deductions; then we can talk…

    I’m so tired of ideological rants that don’t acknowledge the subsidies owners get. But that would require nuanced thinking which is in short supply.

  120. Each newly built BMR unit offers reduced cost to anyone who qualifies for it. Each rent controlled unit will only offer potentially reduced cost to the specific tenants who currently inhabit it. Conflating the two in this way to make a statement about the general affordability of housing is nonsensical.

  121. All I can say is thank goodness there is no Mission-wide or City-wide umbrella org putting pressure on King Ed Lee to address this situation. Oh, sure there are plenty of small and medium activist and nonprofit orgs nibbling at tiny pieces of the lack of affordable housing problem, but no large network united with doable demands to increase the housing stock for low income folks.

    Sure, Plaza 16 got 400 people out for the Maximus community meeting on the evening March 4, and then on the morning of March 5 the Mayor and a lotta Supes and department heads and nonprofit reps and the media were out at the Homeless Navigation Center (election year Potemkin village).

    Not a single Plaza 16 protester was there with a flyer or picket sign or bull horn, even though the center is directly across from the 1979 Mission condo location.

    What message did it send that Plaza 16 didn’t use the March 5 mayoral presser to our advantage? That for all the grand talk of a few steering committee members and NGO reps with their hooks in the Plaza 16 coalition of how fabulous we are with organizing, on the day after the big protest, we were not ready to raise awareness of our concerns.

    Andy Blue, a man who controls Plaza 16’s social media, posted an action request this week asking folks to send emails to elected officials about March 4 and the media coverage it garnered. Info here: http://plaza16.org/action/

    Andy also posted this in his report back on March 4, http://plaza16.org/the-latest/:

    >“Powerful beyond words” is actually a perfect description for the entire evening that we spent picketing, chanting, singing, and echoing each other’s voices, directed squarely at Maximus Real Estate Partners—but also at our elected officials and decision makers in City Hall. <

    Well, in addition to using email to deliver a message to the electeds, and to make sure all the electeds, including that lazy David Campos, who were not inside the laborers hall, heard the Plaza 16 message we should have been at the Mayor's presser.

    So where was the politically incompetent and cowardly Campos on March 4th? At the Jamestown annual dinner on Washington Street, according to his work calendar. If Plaza 16 is to be truly effective and serious about lasting change, it will have to prove its independence from Campos.

  122. If you can’t afford to live here one can live in the East Bay or around Bayshore, outer Mission, Little Hollywood, Crocker-Amazon, Hunter’s Point, etc. If I could I’d be buying up housing out there. If you can’t afford to live in SF there are other cheaper areas farther out from the center.

  123. Maybe if the rental laws weren’t so punitive, more owners would rent to long-term tenants. We will never lease the in-law apartment in our owner-occupied building under the current laws.

  124. Not to mention the thousands and thousands of units converted to short-term vacation rentals for tourists. That probably turns the modest gain into a big reduction.

  125. Re: “The data shows that the city has lost nearly as many units as it’s gained. Since 2007, 4,978 affordable units have been produced. In the same period, 3,278 have been lost.”

    The loss is probably a good deal greater than these data indicate. Evidently not included are “voluntary” move-outs, either because a landlord offered a tenant a “friendly” buyout (I know of such a case in which the tenant was offered $30K, and moved), or because a landlord harassed and/or intimidated a tenant who was vulnerable (undocumented) or fearful (didn’t know his/her rights and succumbed to the pressure).

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