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News + PoliticsNew study shows Mission in dire trouble

New study shows Mission in dire trouble

City report says Latinos are getting forced out, working-class people are getting forced out, families are getting forced out — and building new market-rate housing isn’t going to help.

This map shows where the Mission study covered
This map shows where the Mission study covered

By Tim Redmond

OCTOBER 29, 2015 – A report released yesterday by the city’s Legislative and Budget Analysts puts to rest, for good, the idea that San Francisco can stabilize housing prices by building more market-rate units.

The study of displacement in the Mission, requested by Sup. David Campos, shows the dramatic decrease in Latino population in that neighborhood and projects even further displacement in the future.

It also looks at how much housing the city would have to build to bring prices down to the level of the rest of the country: 15,300 units a year. If the city had built 459,000 new homes since 1980, the crisis might not be so bad, the report notes.

Under that scenario, the population of one of the densest cities in the nation would have more than doubled, to 1.7 million.

The cost of providing infrastructure for that many people would be astronomical and would dwarf even the relatively robust city budgets that we’ve seen in recent years.

And housing prices in the private market will continue to increase over the next 30 years even if the city builds at that impossible level, the report states.

The report compares the population of the city and of the Mission between 2000 and the 2009-2013 period cited in the American Community Survey five-year average.

The city’s population grew, from 776,000 to 817,000 – but the population of the Mission declined by 9 percent, from 42,000 to 38,000.

The numbers reflect the trends we’ve been seeing in the neighborhood: A decline in rental housing and a whopping 48 percent increase in owner-occupied housing as speculators buy rental property, clear out the tenants, and sell the units as tenancies in commom.

The number of households with children dropped 26 percent as families, priced out by the speculation, fled the city.

Overall, the population of the Mission dropped while other neighborhoods were gaining people – a sign that wealthier residents are taking over larger flats that used to house families or people with roommates.

In economic terms, the people hardest hit were the middle class – households with income between $35,000 a year and $99,000 a year dropped by 13 percent, while those with incomes of more than $150,000 rose by 65 percent.

It is, overall, a picture of a neighborhood undergoing rapid hyper-gentrification.

The report states that if current trends continue, the Mission will lose far more Latino residents and families; the percentage of Latinos in the community will drop from 48 percent to 31 percent by 2025.

There are some other sobering statistics about the relation between income and the cost of housing – data that reflect the possibility that the economic boom has actually made at least half the city worse off.

People with incomes in the lowest 10 percent saw their housing costs increase 17 percent – while their incomes went down 4 percent.

In fact, the median household in San Francisco faced housing costs that rose faster than income.

Only at the very top did income rise faster than housing costs.

Again, one possible conclusion: Since housing tends to be the biggest cost item for San Franciscans and the one most related to their quality of life, the “jobs agenda” promoted by the mayor and the tech-driven boom he is so proud of didn’t actually improve the lives of the people who were living here in 2000.

Most of those people are doing worse – while richer newcomers have taken over the housing stock.

Opponents of Prop. I, the 18-month halt in market-rate housing development, are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to convince voters that it’s a bad idea They point to a study by the city’s economist that says stopping new buildings will only make things worse.

That study had its problems – but anyone who thinks more building or more luxury housing is going to trickle down and prevent displacement in the Mission hasn’t paid any attention to the history of housing in SF.

And now we know that the “build-and-build-and-the-rent-will-come-down” line is, to say the least, wildly optimistic. Unless we want to double the population of the city, or more, in the next ten years.

 

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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  29. When you lose the criminals you also happen to lose the young creative class. The Mission used to be home to artists and musicians. They’re all in Oakland now.

  30. Can’t take advantage of those services when you get Ellised out of your apartment and thus San Francisco now can you?

  31. Sort of missing the point. There are no other neighborhoods to move to if you’re evicted in the Mission. It’s not like you can just go rent an apartment in the Marina. Getting evicted from an apartment in most cases means being evicted from San Francisco.

  32. But evidently not “more than you” in San Francisco. “Demographics is destiny” can work in all sorts of unexpected ways.

  33. Interesting perspective but immigrant gateways are no longer confined to cities. They can be also be in the suburbs, many which have extremely di diverse.

  34. … all of which they pay significantly more for every month. Nice try. Perhaps you can explain how higher gas prices are a benefit for car owners, as an encore.

  35. Real estate is always an investment and having a more valuable home will eventually allow you to sell for a profit to finance retirement, having children, whatever. Also, appreciation makes it possible to refinance a mortgage without a fee or points and to reduce monthly mortgage payments. Eventually you will sell or leave the home to your heirs and benefit from the increased value.

  36. No, an improved housing market helps all residents, even renters. Renters also benefit from increased services from added property tax revenue, from renovated and improved homes and businesses, from lower crime, and from additional amenities.

  37. “the Mission will lose far more Latino residents and families; the percentage of Latinos in the community will drop from 48 percent to 31 percent by 2025.” and there is the issue. There are more Latinos than ever in the City, according to US Census data, just not living in the Mission. The Mission was always a safe district seat for a Latino to win and that may change. That is what this is all about.

  38. So if you are more than us, why do we need to protect you? If you are barely a minority anymore, why are we especially concerned with your race over any other? Also I am white as shit but even I can read Spanish, hombre.

  39. Yes, what makes them “better” that Caucasian technology professionals? It’s a legitimate question.

  40. My takeaway from this article is “Mission is gentrifying rapidly, experts think that the one proposal to deal with it (Prop I) won’t actually do anything to help.”

    So the question becomes, “so what do we actually do about it?” I don’t see any answers in this article, just shooting down the proposals of others.

  41. Q: How does building more multimillion dollar condos help lower income folks? A: The people WITH money want somewhere to live. You see, now people with money are buying existing residential buildings, and even (without permit) merging smaller units together to create the space that they want- and they can afford. This displaces existing residents AND reduces the rental housing inventory. If we instead allow developers to build the NEW large/expensive/luxury housing that these wealthy folks want, there will be a reduced need to speculate with existing/older/occupied buildings.

  42. “On the contrary, improving property values are absolutely wonderful for all property-owning residents. ”

    Fixed that for you.

  43. “The cost of providing infrastructure for that many people would be astronomical and would dwarf even the relatively robust city budgets that we’ve seen in recent years.” Uh hate to break it to you but the City and County of Los Angeles has a budget equal to ours for almost 4 times the population. Compare our budget and spending per capita with every other major city and you’ll see some real “dwarfing”

  44. I was born at Kaiser on Geary. There goes ‘without exception’. Make a note of it.

    How does it help a resident who is not selling if his home is valued at $3m instead of at $1m?

  45. Fortunately, no neighborhoods in Detroit are in “dire trouble”, using Tim’s criteria.

    Everything is just peachy there!

  46. Attention everyone: the Mission is in danger of becoming a clean, well-lighted neighborhood with successful professionals, less crime, and good food/drink. For the love of all things holy, make it stop.

  47. The only whiners here are the anti-gentrification criminals and deadbeats who do not contribute in any way to the Mission. The folks improving the neighborhood are not whiners. This post by 48hills is a crying ‘whambulance’. Only an arch conservative would want to concentrate all Hispanics into a ghetto and be averse to ethnic integration.

  48. You said, “There is nothing good about high prices for residents”. On the contrary, improving property values are absolutely wonderful for all residents. I have seen dramatic improvements in my neighborhoods and throughout the City. Real San Franciscans want our property values to increase and are happy that we have the healthiest housing market in the nation. I have never seen my neighbors as jubilant and my neighborhood as booming as it is now, and that is both caused by and reflected in our improving home values. One aspect I have noticed – without exception, every long-term and native San Franciscan I know is happy about the improvements in our City. The whiners who do not like our economic boom are almost invariably new arrivals to the City and mostly live in largely touristy neighborhoods like the Mission and the Marina. No real San Franciscan wants to go back to the high crime and low property value years. On my block, for example, there used to be two drug crime houses. Now, both have been renovated, sold for over $1 million, and are inhabited by productive families. The City is becoming safer, more vibrant, and dramatically better; in short, it is gentrifying. Thank goodness.

  49. LOL ‘gang members’.

    And yes yes, I forgot about ‘welfare recipients’! Those fucking demon succubi!

    HA.

    Bullshit.

  50. Tim starts off by saying “forced … forced … forced” re: Lux housing. I think there is a big difference btw “forced out” and ‘not building something else you could move into if you wanted a lateral move’. Some are being “forced” – Ellis & OMI – but these are the result of a) not enuf housing, or 2) the props low price relative to value — NOT from building Lux housing per se.

    I don’t understand either why they say that more Lux will bring lower prices. Its antithetical to their interests. For them, build just enuf to support market price (or limit it, and raise those prices). BUT, what it will do is provide easy (if not cheap), new (important in this market!) residences for people who want to live here who otherwise would go another route (see above).

    555 Fulton is a good example. Starting @ $1300/ft, its almost sold with no demo’s even! Quality questionable. But NEW! Judging from 8 Buch. & 8 Oct, they’re likely to dump n run; but at 30% above the later’s pricing. Do they ‘force’ anyone out? No. Do they raise prices in the hood? Maybe. I live 2 blks away and older bldgs are judged on a different scale. I agree about “paper profits” – specially if you want to remain here. As for the yahoo braggarts, it only takes a couple of examples to make a media sensation.

    What building WILL do is keep a cap on prices for new (and existing) units. It may bump the price of raw land (which is rare in SF anyway). And affects primarily people who aren’t here yet. But that is not “forcing people out”, unless a family is growing and really needs to move.

    So, is building Lux housing or not building “affordable” housing forcing people out?

  51. This guy does a great job of calling out the so-called San Francisco Bay Area Renters’ Federation (“SFBARF”) who takes money from the real estate industry and mobilizes against renter protection legislation and pro-tenant candidates.

    https://medium.com/@DeanPreston/from-angryrenter-to-sfbarf-co-opting-tenants-for-political-gain-cd44bfa80764#.t99ud0oz0

    SFBARF was formed in 2014 to support high-density development projects, or so it appeared. The group has strayed from its original pro-development message into attacking tenant legislation, tenant advocates, and affordable housing laws. This is where the mask comes off and we see SFBARF for what it is (or at least what it has become): an industry funded political committee that works to undermine pro-tenant candidates and legislation. Responsible reporters should remove SFBARF from their list of sources, and voters who care about renters’ rights and affordable housing should ignore any SFBARF (or Bay Area Renters PAC) endorsements.

  52. Paragon publishes months sales for under/over $2m and days-to-sell for SFH/Condo/TIC; they have August months at /under two or over three by price, DTS 27/29/36. Charts below.

    There is nothing good about high prices for residents. Prices are now so high that they directly affect the 80% of households that don’t earn over $200,000, and indirectly affecting even those by pressuring their neighborhood. Yuck.

    The Prop I argument is anecdote. The only attempt to study it has been the city’s, which found the opposite effect.

    More RE charts:
    http://my.paragon-re.com/Docs/General/SixtyFortyImages/MSI_Luxury-Homes_vs_Non-Lux.jpg
    http://my.paragon-re.com/Docs/General/SixtyFortyImages/DOM_by_Quarter.jpg

  53. My information comes from a weekly market report provided by a real estate agent at Hill and Co. The weekly sales volume varies, but in general has been “cooling off” as they say. I can’t explain the significant difference between Hill and Co’s data and what you supply. Even if your numbers are right, however, that doesn’t make for an emergency or crisis for the high-end buying class.

    A different Hill and Co agent, who used to be my neighbor, told me in no uncertain terms that the reason a house virtually identical to mine (a couple hundred square feet smaller, actually) in the same group of 30 single family homes sold for almost twice what I paid two and a half years earlier is because of the new luxury condos at 555 Fulton Street – about six blocks from where I live. Off the record, and not when trying to defeat Prop I, real estate professionals will speak quite candidly about gentrification and how new development substantially raises the value of nearby housing stock. I have read over and over that lots of owners are “stoked” or “gloating” over their huge increase in wealth. I see nothing good in that at all. It is only a paper gain that would be meaningless if I wanted to sell and buy a new place in San Francisco. If I wanted to leave the area for someplace substantially less expensive, the gain might mean something. I was able to a buy a house because my mother died and left me enough money for a 40% down payment (inherited wealth is strongly correlated with race, or put another way white privilege gave me something I didn’t earn). The development I live in was built as middle-class housing – and it was until shortly after I moved here. To purchase one now would require a quarter million or so down payment and more than $200,000 in household income to get a loan. That would be a household of two public school principals or three public school teachers with some years of service. When I worked at UCSF 7 years ago, I was earning an FTE of $37,000. I don’t know what UC’s current wage scale looks like, but clearly a mid-level administrative person would need to partner up with someone who earns a lot more to be able to buy the currently for sale property near me.

  54. On the contrary, there are now more working people and families and fewer criminals, gang members, and welfare recipients in the Mission. Yes, having creative people, young people, professionals, and production people in the neighborhood is a good development.

  55. Let’s be clear: It is a good development that overcrowding, poverty, ethnic segregation, crime, and vacancy are declining in the Mission while homeownership, prosperity, and ethnic diversity are increasing in the Mission. It is wonderful news that Hispanics now live throughout the City and are no longer forced to live in a segregated neighborhood.

  56. Why do we need to preserve the Mission as some kind of ethnic ghetto? Latinos don’t have to live there. There are other hoods in this city.

  57. It’s what he does. It’s all he does. Corner him with any evidence that contradicts his position and he’ll accuse you of being a “troll”.

  58. The report’s numbers may be off.

    Because Campos required the analysis for the Mission, the Budget and Legislative Analyst had to use 5-year ACS estimates, which were sampled from 2009-2013. Census-tract level estimates are not publicly available otherwise.

    One-year estimated are available for public use microdata areas. The PUMA containing the Mission also includes the Castro. From 2005 to 2014, the Inner Mission & Castro PUMA estimate went from 102,048 to 118,272 – up 16%.

  59. Only a total moron would say ‘Hmmmm, here we have a central neighborhood with 2 Bart Stations that is criss-crossed by Muni – lower density would be a good thing’.

    How stupid could you possibly be?

  60. Wait, what!? Building almost exclusively $1M 1-bedrooms means that there won’t be any working people and families in the neighborhood!?

    You’re telling me that if all we build is #LUXURY condos, only overpaid tech / ad / investment douches will be able to live in the neighborhood!?

    WOAH! News flash.

    Only ignorant shills could possibly claim that what we are building would allow regular working professionals and families stay in the Mission. And only idiots would claim that a healthy, vibrant neighborhood is made up of a majority of entitled young pricks who work on the peninsula.

  61. Now, if we can only clear out the lazy & self-entitled Boomers in their rent controlled apartments. I hear things like “The City is losing it’s soul” all the time from these moochers. You know what? I heard the same thing,back in the 80’s when they started moving here from NYC (it was Giuliani time) en masse.

  62. The political analysis may be okay, but pretty much everything else is wrong.

    Months supply here is under two, not six. Vacancies in the metro area are at three-decade lows. High rents affect everyone but the rich, and while that describes many, only every fifth family has income over $200,000.

    Both house prices and rents are elastic. Asking rents went down from 2002 to 2006 as new units faced reduced demand. Adjusted for inflation (less shelter), house prices stayed below the prior peak from 1980 to 1985, 1990 to 1999 and were still slightly below the 2006 peak as of the first quarter.

    Charts:

    Months supply
    http://my.paragon-re.com/Docs/General/SixtyFortyImages/MSI-SFD-Condo-Co-op.jpg

    Vacancies
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/kgo2gerzszxrs8y/SF%20MSA%20Vacancy%201986-2015q3.png?dl=0

    Asking rents
    http://my.paragon-re.com/Docs/General/SixtyFortyImages/Rents_Avg-SF_by-year.jpg

    House prices after inflation (less shelter):
    https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/fredgraph.png?g=2mvr

    Sources:
    Months supply, BrokerMetrics/Paragon, http://www.paragon-re.com/Market_overview/
    Vacancies, Census Bureau, http://www.census.gov/housing/hvs/index.html
    Asking rents, Paragon/RealFacts, http://www.paragon-re.com/Bay_Area_Apartment_Building_Market
    House prices and inflation, FHFA/BLS, https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=2mvr

  63. I have not evidence, but I might assume they are interested in moving out of slum-like conditions in the Mission to something resembling middle class conditions in the Outer Mission.

  64. You cite some interesting examples, and ask some good questions. However your conclusion:

    “market-rate housing … displac(es) long-term tenants, class-upgrading gentrification, and ethnic cleansing.” is not obvious and needs explanation.

    Please finish your piece.

  65. Despite the blather to the contrary, there is NO shortage of market-rate ownership residences in San Francisco. The combined inventory of houses and condominiums (including TICs and lofts) available for IMMEDIATE purchase is roughly 1,000 units. That translates into about a six-month supply at current sales rates. In no way does that constitute a lack of availability or an emergency.

    Information on available rental units is harder to come by, in part because large owners like to manipulate the market by hiding the number of apartments for rent.

    The housing emergency the city faces is ONLY something that affects poor to mid-income residents. The extensive waiting lists for affordable rentals and below market rate condos make that clear.

    The pro-development gasbags spout on about how building more market rate housing will increase affordability. Housing prices just aren’t that elastic. Although the housing bust seven years ago did lower prices, nothing in SF became a bargain that could be afforded by, say, someone making $65,000 a year (like a public school teacher). Also, many of those units that had been intended to be for-sale condos were turned into rental units (the Argenta at 1 Polk Street for example). At that particular moment, there was a profound silence from those who endlessly complain that renters are leeches who are wholly expendable.

    Also, if, as the build build build crowd insists, more luxury housing is “guaranteed” to lower costs, why did their puppet London Breed say “Let them drink beer”? Why is Mark Farrell opposed to housing development on the former reservoir at Hyde and Francisco? Why does the Fillmore Street Neighborhood Commercial Transit District cover only nine blocks, stopping at Bush on the north end? Those nine blocks of Fillmore already have a lot of high-density housing on them, whereas the (rich, white) stretch of Fillmore from Bush to at least Sacramento has a good number of single-story boutiques that sell stuff that no could ever need. The NCTD on Divisidero is a bit longer, but still stops short of the power and privilege stretch of the street. Why didn’t Cole Street from Carl to Parnassus not get rezoned into a NCTD? There are more Muni routes serving that block
    than most parts of the city. Why did
    Scott Wiener oppose the construction of large houses on Ord Court? The answers to all these questions are the
    same, and obvious: market-rate housing
    construction is only “urgent” when it has the “upside” of
    displacing long-term tenants, class-upgrading gentrification, and ethnic
    cleansing.

  66. The Latino population of San Francisco has been steadily increasing since 1970. I don’t know why The Mission is so special, Latinos can live wherever they like, just like everyone else.

  67. I don’t understand why the conclusion from this report is that building market-rate housing is not going to help… Report seems to indicate building more housing units would’ve helped but the city fell woefully short. That it is a daunting task does not mean it is the wrong task. What did I miss?

  68. Density in the Mission is decreasing. I actually think thats a good thing in this case.

    I guess that’s what happens if you limit the number of people in an apt to what the Fire Code mandates as a max. I know I know, that’s not what is actually happening. But think about it.

    Otherwise, with too many people in too small a place, you get … slum-like conditions. Guess thats’ OK though … you know, “housing efficiency”.

  69. No one says Latinos are to be forced to live in the Mission. This is talking about how not to force them out of the Mission.
    Latino population is indeed growing, especially at the southern edge of town, apparently at the expense of African Americans, who are driven out of the city altogether.

  70. Tim, please read the California Legislative Analyst’s Office report:

    [W]e developed an econometric model to estimate the number of households that would demand to live in California at a range of home prices. Because demand for housing varies throughout California, we conducted our analysis at the county level

    That does not model units needed to reduce prices. It models units demanded. The LAO then plugs national price levels in to the model in place of actual prices. The result is not ‘how much housing the city would have to build to bring prices down.’

    The city report simply recapitulates the same state unit demand estimates.

  71. and your better plan is what exactly? Stop building all over San Francisco? how do you plan to have affordable housing for everyone while “not altering the landscape”?
    What you are arguing for is San Francisco just becoming a giant gated community. No thanks.

  72. Overall SFs percentage of Latinos increased but by all means let the white folk decide that Latinos can only live in the mission.

  73. If you vote for prop I, you’re voting to escalate the number of evictions in the Mission. Latinos are increasing in SF, they’re just not all packed into one area, which is a good thing.

  74. Tim fails to make a case for why ghettoizing any group of people is a wise idea.

    Because David Campos’ political career depends upon it.

  75. Those who want the city’s population to grow and those who are against the displacement together should be concerned about one disturbing statistic: The declining population density in the Mission.

    I wonder if there is a correlation between an increase in owner occupied units and declining density?

    Regardless, this is troubling.

  76. The report also shows Latino are increasing as a percentage of city population as a whole. Tim fails to make a case for why ghettoizing any group of people is a wise idea.

  77. thanks for writing this; well-crafted research that needs to put to rest, once and for all, the whambulance cry of the maligned and misunderstood rich folk who displace Mission residents – thanks again

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