We're not alone: Peninsula needs 60,000 more housing units

Economic reports cites strong job, population growth as reasons for shortfall

The San Francisco Bay Area's Peninsula region is short tens of thousands of housing units because of strong job and population growth over the last nine years, according to an economic report released Friday.

Housing demands and increased job growth at employment centers in the Tri-Valley have also led to major apartment and condo construction projects here, too.

The report by the Joint Venture Silicon Valley's Institute for Regional Studies said the region including San Francisco, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties is short 60,000 housing units, a problem exacerbated in the last year by the addition of 65,600 jobs and 39,800 residents.

The unemployment rate in the region has also declined, according to the report. In September in San Mateo County, the unemployment rate was 3.1 percent, well below the state and nationwide averages of 5.5 and 5 percent.

The rates in both San Francisco and Santa Clara counties are also below the state and nationwide averages.

"With no end to job growth soon, the region needs to address housing and transportation challenges as soon as possible," said Stephen Levy, director of the institute's Center for Continuing Study of the

California Economy.

The shortage of housing relative to population growth is also causing an increase in housing prices and gentrification, which is driving out the middle class, Levy said.

The growth is also causing long commutes, which is a problem for businesses and people. It's hard for businesses to attract workers because commutes are so long and workers cannot afford to live in the area where the jobs are, Levy said.

The problems may be alleviated somewhat if Santa Clara County residents approve Measures A and B. Measure A would provide money for low-income housing and other housing projects, while Measure B would provide funding for improvements to Caltrain, BART, roads and bicycle infrastructure.

The full report is available online at

Keith Burbank, Bay City News, contributed to this report.

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