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New Housing Additions in San Francisco Drop by 67% Over the Last Few Years – 2023 Study


San Francisco and surrounding neighborhoods have some of the most expensive home prices in the country. Prices peaked at an average $1.48 million in May 2022, according to Zillow. As of October 2023, home prices have come down roughly 15% to $1.254 million. Many factors can play a role in such dramatic shifts in home prices – such as the dramatic change in mortgage interest rates between 2022 and 2023. The supply of housing also plays a major role in local home prices, with new housing relieving pressure on home prices and hopeful home buyers. Similarly, the demolition of housing units contributes to upward pressure on prices.

To get a better understanding of the dynamics of the San Francisco housing market, SmartAsset examined new and lost housing units across the city since 2020. Housing units were also classified based on the income level of residents and neighborhoods.

Key Findings

  • A total of 13,317 housing units have been added to San Francisco since 2020. This includes the loss of about 488 units due to demolition or other reasons. New units could be from repurposing and reallocating existing residential space, such as making a four-bedroom unit into a three-bedroom apartment and a studio, to building new apartment buildings as high as 40 stories, to single family homes.
  • New housing additions drop by 65% compared to a few years ago. For 2023, 1,201 total new units have been added through August, pacing for about 1,800 for the year. This is roughly one-third of the 5,034 units completed in 2020. In 2021, 4,435 units were added, and in 2022 the city gained an additional 2,647 units. 
  • One-third of new housing units were designated as affordable housing. Most new housing – 8,945 units – were market rate homes. Just over 4,500 units would be classified as affordable housing, including 251 units for extremely low income, very low income (1,408), and low income (1,500).

    Extremely low income is considered 30% lower than the average median income, which would be about $41,000 or lower according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s most recent income data for the median San Francisco household ($136,692). Very low income falls between 30% and 50% of the median area income, or between roughly $41,000 and $68,300. Low income falls between 50% and 80% of the median income – roughly between $68,300 and $109,300. 
  • Most low income units were added in SoMa. Low income housing was entirely contained to the Financial District, South of Market, Tenderloin and Mission neighborhoods. While market-rate housing also had the most growth in these areas, these new units were added throughout other areas of the city as well.

Data and Methodology

Data comes from the City and County of San Francisco Planning Department. This study specifically looked at net housing units added and removed from the city depending on completion date. Completion dates from January 2020 through August 2023 were included. Units may include apartments, condos, or single family homes.

Housing Tips

  • Consider the benefits of renting. If you’re thinking of buying a home, renting may actually be the better financial option. SmartAsset’s rent vs. buy calculator can help you compare the costs of renting vs. buying in a particular area so you can make an informed financial decision. The tool will tell you how many years you’ll need to live in your home to make buying the preferred choice.
  • Shop around for interest rates. If you choose to buy, SmartAsset’s mortgage rate comparison tool shows you the rates currently being offered for both 15- and 30-year fixed rate mortgages, as well as different kinds of adjustable rate mortgages. Be sure to shop around for the best possible rate and do your due diligence before picking a lender.
  • Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can have a free introductory call with your advisor matches to decide which one you feel is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.

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