It’s no secret: San Francisco is an expensive place to live, especially when it comes to rents. Zillow recently found that renters, on average, contribute nearly 50 percent of their monthly income to housing in the city.

Takeaways:

  • A study of 30,800 San Francisco parcels found that 240 “soft” sites have the potential to deliver 5,000 affordable units and 11,000 market-rate homes if density limits were removed.
  • The program suggests removing density restrictions in nonplanned area neighborhoods in exchange for developers delivering 30 percent on-site affordable housing.
  • Projects that featured 100 percent affordable housing would have an option to build three additional floors, if needed, and receive extended entitlements up to 10 years.

It’s no secret: San Francisco is an expensive place to live, especially when it comes to rents.

Zillow recently found that renters, on average, contribute nearly 50 percent of their monthly income to housing in the city.

To combat this affordability issue, a recent study of 30,800 parcels — located in parts of San Francisco that have not been rezoned since the 1970s — found that 240 “soft” sites have the potential to deliver 5,000 affordable units and 11,000 market-rate homes if density limits were removed.

The San Francisco Affordable Housing Bonus Program, a new initiative that aims to achieve the city’s affordable housing goals by promoting greater density and expanding buildings’ height limits, conducted this study.

 

The program recommends removing density restrictions in nonplanned area neighborhoods in exchange for developers delivering 30 percent on-site affordable housing.

Twelve percent of this housing would be priced at 55 percent of the area median income (AMI) if used as a rental, and 90 percent AMI if owned. An additional 18 percent of affordable homes would be at 120 percent AMI (rental) or 140 percent (owned).

Under this proposed program, developers would be eligible for one to three concessions. For example, if additional height is needed to include 30 percent affordable units, the developer could build two additional floors.

Projects that featured 100 percent affordable housing would have an option to build three additional floors, if needed, and receive extended entitlements up to 10 years.

The program aims at having draft legislation prepared by early fall.

If approved and implemented by the city, this program would not be mandatory, with market-rate builders able to submit projects as usual.

Email Erik Pisor.

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