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A profile of the economic inequality fueling San Francisco’s housing problem

The side effect of innovation

The tech industry found a home in San Francisco, propelling the region into a period of unprecedented wealth and innovation, Frederick Kuo, a San Francisco-based real estate broker said in an article in Quartz.

But as more people prosper in Silicon Valley, it pushes more people out who can’t afford the outrageous, and growing, costs of the city, leaving behind an “alarming housing crisis and astronomical rise in socio-economic inequality.”

From the piece:

San Francisco and the Bay Area have long been committed to values which embrace inclusivity and counterculture. To see these values fraying so publicly adds insult to injury for a region once defined by its progressive social fabric. In the face of resentment it is human to want revenge. But regressive policies such as heavily taxing technology companies or real estate developers are unlikely to shift the balance.

Currently, the San Francisco profile of housing is as follows, from the piece:

With the average house in San Francisco costing over $1.25 million and median condo prices over $1.11 million, the minimum qualifying income to purchase a house has increased to $254,000, as estimated by the California Association of Realtors. Considering that the median household income in the city currently stands around $80,000, it is not an exaggeration to say that the dream of homeownership is now beyond the grasp of the vast majority of today’s renters.

Check the article from Kuo’s full call to action to help save the city. Here’s a small portion of his suggestion.

It is crucial that developers work with local housing groups to determine an acceptable standard of BMRs, or Below Market Rate units. Currently, the San Francisco planning commission, whose role is to advise the mayor and city departments on housing policy, is reviewing legislation that would increase the required amount of BMR’s for specified locations to 30% from the current 12%. I

This, unfortunately, isn’t the first piece about the city, which so desperately needs change. The city commonly makes the lists of hottest housing markets in the country, with nearly all the homes in San Francisco experiencing a bidding war.

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3d rendering of a row of luxury townhouses along a street

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