Which Factors Most Affect Housing Affordability?

Photo credit: Bay Area Council Economic Institute

Photo credit: Bay Area Council Economic Institute

High housing costs have impacted the overall Bay Area economy. The Bay Area Council Economic Institute (BACEI) recently published a study on how public policies affect the number of San Francisco households burdened by housing costs.

The study lists some of the policies that could increase housing affordability. Most beneficial, the BACEI analysis shows, are expedited completion of major projects and accelerating the permitting process for all housing development. Other policies that improve housing affordability, albeit to a lesser extent, included

  • easing restrictive building codes,
  • creating a fund for below-market-rate housing,
  • a density bonus for buildings with more than 30 percent affordable units,
  • restricting ownership of second homes,
  • allowing accessory dwelling units to be constructed on all properties zoned for residential use,
  • facilitating development of more micro units,
  • providing a density bonus for buildings with 100 percent below-market-rate units, and
  • reducing parking requirements.

On the other hand, BACEI found that certain San Francisco policies worsened housing affordability, most significantly eliminating rent control, an indefinite moratorium on development, and a 25% inclusionary housing requirement.

RSG can help cities analyze which policies would be effective in their specific situation and implement policies that they have already enacted. Call us today to identify what your city can do to improve local housing affordability.

Written by Jim Simon, a Principal at RSG