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San Francisco must end its self-inflicted housing woes (sfchronicle.com)
19 points by nerfhammer 3 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 14 comments

I live in San Francisco.

Every time I visit pretty much any other city in the world I'm reminded of how refreshing it is to be somewhere that people who aren't on insane software engineer salaries can afford to live.

The selfish perspective is this: I can afford it here. My quality of life is greatly reduced by the fact that hardly anyone else can.

This captures my feeling exactly. I used to view SF as the ideal place to live, but economic forces that push SF towards an engineer-only tech monoculture make those who can afford to live there worse off as well.

I am constantly arguing with people in the SF area about housing. The most common arguments I hear (and these are not from NIMBY type entrenched interests) are that “if we build housing it will just be ultra-high cost housing for the rich” or “it will just be more gentrification” or “it will ruin our neighborhoods” (the implication being that new buildings will all be unappealing cookie cutter malls or something. I am constantly finding that your average run of the mill resident actively is against ANY kind of “pro building” arguments. It’s really quite astonishing. Anyone else in the area find this attitude? I find hn to be generally pro “build more”, so I’m wondering if anyone here has any links to studies, evidence or arguments to refute these seemingly ubiquitous views.

I find it incredibly frustrating.

When housing is treated as an investment, naturally people don't want the value of their investment to decrease due to increased supply.

Of course the expectation that housing should be an investment has been a social disaster, but that's not something SF can solve.

I’m specifically talking about renters having this attitude though, not just homeowners. I guess renters can be NIMBYS too? I suppose I always associated these views with homeowners not renters.

Nobody's rent is going to go down because a new apartment moved in across the street. You know what will change though? The infrastructure, noise levels, and population density will all get worse.

Well what are your answers to these objections?

Find me real estate developers who really want to build mixed income or affordable housing. They don’t exist in my experience in the industry. The lenders want huge upsides, the developers want ever bigger upsides. Governments consist of by unsavvy or corrupt people and developers run circles around them, promising to build affordable units and then reneging on those promisies.

Those people already have housing, and like SF enough to remain. They've already made it.

Although it’s not like these people are homeowners. They are ALL renters! Suffering from the same incredibly high rent that we all do. That’s kind of my point, I would expect homeowners to have this attitude, but not my fellow renters who are getting reamed every month by exorbitant rents.

> Suffering from the same incredibly high rent that we all do

Are you certain about this last point? SF has rent stabilization, so someone who has been in the same unit for many years might well be paying rents substantially below market.

Naturally, this makes rents that much higher for those who arrived recently or decided to move, and often leaves those with rent control ‘trapped’ in a situation where they can only afford to stay put.

It’s a classic case of ameliorating a first-order effect while making second-order effects worse.

Or not, and techies and others can just move to more sanely-run cities instead of rushing the Bay area like lemmings.

It’s a shame this is downvoted. Allowing people to vote with their feet seems the better solution here.

Why aren’t there dozens of class action suits against the city?

People keep on electing the same kinds of supervisors. They hate the way the city of SF is run, but we keep electing the same kinds of people who perpetuate the problem.

Most of the mayors, including the current one, typically want to build, but the Supes have other "priorities" and loathe that developers might make a profit. Then, of course, we have neighbors who don't want to allow progress and want to nix most housing developments.

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