Category Archives: San Francisco

Airbnb Amendment Stalls with Supervisors; Headed to Voters

airbnb logo

The two competing bids to strengthen San Francisco’s existing Airbnb law came before the Board of Supervisors last week for a vote. Seeking a “scalpel” instead of a “sledgehammer”, the Board decided to postpone the vote for a month. Meanwhile, another effort to augment the existing law is headed to voters this November. Among other changes, the ballot measure would actually allow short term rentals in excess of the current limit of 90 days per year, as long as the host obtains a conditional use permit to operate an actual“bed and breakfast”. (Presumably, inflatable furniture would still be allowed.)

At the State level, Senator McGuire has not been successful in advancing the “Thriving Communities and Sharing Economy Act”, which would impose burdens on hosting platforms while empowering cities to enforce their short term rental laws, but he is planning to try again next year.


Board of Supervisors Votes Down Mission Moratorium – Affordable Housing Agenda Headed to the Ballot Box


The “Mission Moratorium” failed to pass last week, despite majority support in a 7-4 vote by the Board of Supervisors. (As an emergency measure, it needed 9 votes to pass.) However, it will have a second chance when resurface this November at the ballot box. The proposed ballot measure would create an 18-month moratorium on market rate developments (with an optional 12-month extension at the discretion of the Board of Supervisors). It would also require the City to develop a “Neighborhood Stabilization Plan” by 2017, which would institutionalize this affordable housing agenda for The Mission.


Curbed Attempts To Mediate the Argument between SocketSite and SF Gate over San Francisco Rental Rates


SocketSite recently dismantled the methodology relied on in SF Gate’s “borderline reckless” reporting of a $4,255.00 San Francisco median rental rate last month based on Zillow figures for houses and condos (not “apartments”). Pitting Zillow’s data against Zumper’s, Curbed SF finds a way that they can both be right.

The short version is that the prices are different because math. Unlike home sales, which are listed in an MLS and recorded in public record, there is no reliable data on apartment listings or rentals. As a result, Zillow uses an algorithm that tracks the data that is available (condos, houses, TICs, etc.) and treats those listings as substitute goods for the renting of apartments. The algorithm tracks changes in price over time, and – even if the actual numbers are not accurate – at least everything is in the right proportion.


Golden Gates Closing on Golden Arches


There were only about a dozen McDonald’s restaurants in San Francisco at the beginning of the year. Back in January, the Van Ness location shut down to make way for a thirteen-story mixed use building. Last month, City Attorney Dennis Herrera complained to McDonald’s Corp. about the Haight Street location (where the meals come with psychedelic drugs instead toys). And this month, CBS News reported that the location on 16th and Mission closed abruptly, with the McDonald’s on 3rd and Townsend soon to follow.

Meanwhile, what SuperDuper lacks in childhood nostalgia, they make up with four beers on tap.


San Francisco Business Times Breaks Down Office Subletting by Square Footage.

SF bus times

The San Francisco Business Times still hasn’t given an opinion on what the recent deluge in available subletting square footage in San Francisco means, but their latest report gives an impressive breakdown of the various reasons that San Francisco companies (tech and non-tech, alike) are shedding space.

And, while an absence of office space may strike some as an indicator that tech firms are in decline, apparently there is “nowhere near the amount of vacant sublease space recorded during the dot-com bust just after the turn of the century”. The canary died of natural causes.


SocketSite Disappointed with “Borderline Reckless” SF Gate Median Rate Estimate


SocketSite properly digests the data relied on in a recent SF Gate article about rising San Francisco rents, noting that, not only does the Zillow report (that SF Gate relied on) use estimated, rather than actual rents, but it also only included data for houses and condos – not apartments – in determining that median rents for one-bedroom rentals in San Francisco reached $4,225.00 per month by May.

Last month, SocketSite concluded that the average asking rent is a much more “reasonable” $3,458.00. Curbed SF recently tracked data from, which it notes are based on asking prices, not what tenants are paying, and found that the median for a one bedroom apartment is also about $3,500.00 per month.


“Group Housing” Model Gains Momentum in The Mission and SOMA

SF bus times

San Francisco Business Times reports on two projects by developer Artthaus to build group housing, with plans to build a 131-unit building in The Mission and a 36-unit building in SOMA. Group housing, which generally offers a small private room (200 sqft in this model) and shared kitchen space, is aimed at younger professionals. (We spend all of our time working anyway, so who needs a private kitchen.)

With a large supply of young workers with a lot of money (San Francisco’s current unemployment rate is below 4%), there would seem to be high demand for these less conventional rentals. Although, San Francisco Business Times also points out that builders have another incentive: group housing is currently excluded from the City’s inclusionary housing program


San Francisco Business Times on Treasure Island Housing Development Progress

treasure island

San Francisco Business Times reports on a major step forward for the sluggish project to develop housing at Treasure Island. Last week, the Navy transferred ownership of 290 acres (or about half of the landmass) to San Francisco. While some have been worried about radiation contamination, the proposed 8,000 housing units would be, like… right next to the Financial District.