Alexander Clark Real Estate

‘The Front Steps’: Only 0.7 Percent of New SF Housing Is In the Richmond

Few things get housing watchers hotter under the collar than the question of whether and how we should be building more homes on San Francisco’s west side. Be you for the proposal or against it, tempers will soar in no time.

We’re not here to bait one side or the other with an opinion, we’ve got just the facts, as recently delivered by the city’s budget & legislative analyst; this week’s report was actually about the ever-contentious issue of housing vacancies, but that included a frank summary of housing stock citywide.

Between 2015 and 2020, San Francisco as a whole saw a net gain of more than 23,700 new units, almost entirely concentrated in a handful of neighborhoods on the east side: The downtown area added over 5,000, SoMa more than 3,000, the Mission more than 2,000, and Bayview nearly 1,500.

By comparison, construction in the Richmond was…rather light. Overall, the neighborhood saw a net gain of just 167 new units during this period. (No word on how many of those were in-law apartments, at least not from this one report.) If you add in Sea Cliff, that’s three more.

In all, that comes out to just about 0.7 percent of those 23,700 homes.

There are other neighborhoods that built even less; there are even a couple that actually LOST a few homes out of their total stock.

Still, if you’re one of those folks who insists we should not or should not have to build up the Richmond, good news: We haven’t been.

The bad news (again, if you’re of a persuasion who thinks it is bad news) is that the state expects the city to build tens of thousands more homes in the immediate future–and unlike in years past, they now have tools to force the matter.

Greater density in places like the Richmond may become impossible to avoid, simply because there are only so many other places to put all those homes. We’ll probably never approach the level of places like the Mission, but nor does it seem very likely that the status quo can persist forever in the face of these pressures.

But everyone can argue about that when the time comes…

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