Report: Bay Area housing numbers fall by 30% in 2019 | News | |


Report: Bay Area housing numbers fall by 30% in 2019

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Despite a narrative that housing construction in the Bay Area is going gangbusters, the number of units built last year was nearly 10,000 shy of the year before, according to preliminary data from the Construction Industry Research Board and assembled Friday by Bay City News Service.

Two people familiar with the state's and Bay Area's housing crisis said fees and delays for various reasons are behind the 9,880-unit decrease in housing construction.

"We still have very anti-housing policies," State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) said.

He said the approval process for a unit of housing can take three to five years and in San Francisco the charges and fees for a housing unit come to $165,000.

"We still have a system that's designed to fail," Wiener said.

In San Francisco, the number of units built fell by 1,841, the most behind Santa Clara County and Alameda County. The drop in Santa Clara County was 3,333 and in Alameda County 2,455.

Dan Dunmoyer, president and CEO of the California Building Industry Association, a trade association representing single family and multi family homebuilders, said that statewide, 7% to 8% fewer units of housing were constructed in 2019 than in 2018.

"It's interesting and profound," Dunmoyer said.

It's the first year the numbers have been down since the Great Recession, he said, adding that there is great demand for housing.

But like Wiener, Dunmoyer said fees and delays due to lawsuits and endangered species concerns, among other reasons, are probably behind the drop.

Fees that Bay Area cities charge developers for building housing range from two to three times to six to eight times what cities in places like Phoenix and Salem, Oregon, charge, he said.

Outside of California, developers pay about $6,000 to $15,000, while the cheapest fees in the Bay Area are $45,000 to $50,000, he said, and the homebuyer ultimately pays the fees.

Delays caused by regulations at the local level are being addressed at least to some extent by numerous changes to state law, said Daniel Saver, assistant director, housing and local planning, at the Association of Bay Area Governments, a regional planning board and local government service provider.

"The state's perspective appears to be that there is a need to simplify and streamline local laws that slow down housing construction," Saver said.

"The stated intention is to make it so developers don't have to jump through so many hoops," he said.

— Bay City News Service

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3 people like this
Posted by Parent of Two
a resident of Val Vista
on Feb 18, 2020 at 10:38 am

Misleading headline. Housing is NOT down 30%... that would require the destruction of thousands of homes. This is the kind of alarmist clickbait (which I admittedly fell for) that is driving journalism nowadays, where the story is secondary to the number of clicks you get.

The rate of building houses is slowing. Which would get you fewer clicks, but would be honest.

Like this comment
Posted by Tracy
a resident of another community
on Feb 18, 2020 at 1:15 pm

I agree with the previous poster. The headline is misleading. "Housing CONSTRUCTION is down nearly 30% in the last quarter of 2019." This would be a more accurate headline, and would still get attention.

I am glad that there is a slowdown in new building. We are overdeveloping, especially if there is construction in areas where endangered species might be impacted. The infrastructure here in the bay area is underdeveloped and more housing is going to make it worse. Slow growth is a better model. Build up the water, sewers, power, gas and telecom infrastructure THEN increase the number of units.

We need better planning, not simply more housing. How about the schools that will be needed to educate the children of the people moving into our communities? What about shopping and entertainment venues? What about arts and cultural centers? These are things we need to think about BEFORE we build more housing for Facebook, Google, Amazon, etc.

1 person likes this
Posted by Wow
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2020 at 5:11 am

Want to solve the housing and homeless issue? Want to make housing costs and rent affordable for americans?.
The answer is pretty simple. Restrict home ownership to only legal us citizens. Supply demand becomes more equal and housing prices become more affordable. The downside is alot of foreigners qont be able to get rich nd gouge americans by driving up prices and running up rents for not very well taken care of real estate. Too .any third world slum loards allowed to purchase american real estate. Want to help tje poor americans with housing? Take a stand us or them it's really that simple.

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