The rent is too damn high

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(270)

You look at numbers like this and you go: Whoa. The rent really, really is too damn high. Median rent in San Francisco is now over $3,000 a month. WHo can pay that? Seriously.

The federal government says your rent payment shouldn't be more than a third of your income. That means to qualify for the median -- not the highest, but the median -- rent in this town, you need to be earning $9,000 a month, or $108,000 a year. That is NOT, by any standard, the median income in town.

So let's say you spend half your income on rent. You still have to make $72,000 to afford the median apartment. Crazy stuff. And when local politicians say they support "rent control," that's nice but it's not the point. Controlling rent at $3,000 a month doesn't make the city affordable.

If rent controls applied to vacant apartments, then rents overall, across the city, would rise at the level of inflation -- and people on fixed incomes (social security, disability, SSI) would be able to keep pace. You want to know why there are so many homeless people in this city? One reason: Two decades ago, SSI paid enough every month to cover the cost of an apartment and leave enough to buy clothes and eat. Now, it doesn't pay enough for an SRO hotel, even if you don't buy anything else.

So people wind up on the street.

 

 

Comments

...you didn't answer the question.

Posted by Hortencia on Jan. 07, 2013 @ 12:24 pm

"The reality is that SF does a tremendously poor job of planning for new people."

This can't be denied. Also, we don't do a great job of planning for the people who are already here.

Posted by Hortencia on Jan. 07, 2013 @ 1:16 pm

I enjoy posting this article every time one of the SFBG's articles touches on rent control. It was written by Paul Krugman.

http://www.nytimes.com/2000/06/07/opinion/reckonings-a-rent-affair.html

I like this paragraph most:

"The analysis of rent control is among the best-understood issues in all of economics, and -- among economists, anyway -- one of the least controversial. In 1992 a poll of the American Economic Association found 93 percent of its members agreeing that 'a ceiling on rents reduces the quality and quantity of housing.' Almost every freshman-level textbook contains a case study on rent control, using its known adverse side effects to illustrate the principles of supply and demand. Sky-high rents on uncontrolled apartments, because desperate renters have nowhere to go -- and the absence of new apartment construction, despite those high rents, because landlords fear that controls will be extended? Predictable. Bitter relations between tenants and landlords, with an arms race between ever-more ingenious strategies to force tenants out -- what yesterday's article oddly described as 'free-market horror stories' -- and constantly proliferating regulations designed to block those strategies? Predictable."

Posted by The Commish on Jan. 03, 2013 @ 4:56 pm

I would go along to the monthly SF Apartment Owners meetings at Fort Mason, and it always surprised me how many landlords actually liked rent control. The line generally trotted out was exactly what you just said - that rent control actually drives up rent (at the margin anyway) because it suppresses both tentant turnover and new supply.

So when you get a vacancy, although that may not happen as much as you would like, the rent goes to the moon.

What's baffling is why Tim is baffled that SF rents are so high. Does he really not understand basic market economics?

Posted by Anon on Jan. 03, 2013 @ 5:09 pm

He's constantly advocating for vacancy control for God's sake.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jan. 03, 2013 @ 5:53 pm
Posted by Guest on Jan. 03, 2013 @ 6:04 pm

so vacancy control can be imposed - that's his answer to San Francisco's housing problem - along with further restrictions on new residential buildings and the ending of Ellis Act evictions.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jan. 03, 2013 @ 6:37 pm

But since that is State law, he knows it wont happen.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 03, 2013 @ 6:59 pm

Almost all of them missed the housing bubble that led to the present economic depression.

Mainstream economics, including academia, is totally corrupted by the plutocratic class. Or did you miss "Inside Job?"

Posted by Eddie on Jan. 03, 2013 @ 6:56 pm

Stalking various people who were making good posts simply because I lack the maturity to engage in an honest, balanced, diverse debate.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 03, 2013 @ 5:27 pm

Imp Troll.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 03, 2013 @ 5:44 pm
Posted by marcos on Jan. 03, 2013 @ 6:03 pm
Posted by marcos on Jan. 03, 2013 @ 6:09 pm

Imp Troll.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 03, 2013 @ 6:46 pm

Imp Troll.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 03, 2013 @ 6:46 pm
Posted by marcos on Jan. 03, 2013 @ 7:01 pm

Troll!

Posted by marcos on Jan. 15, 2013 @ 9:15 am

troll.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 09, 2013 @ 9:57 pm

Imp Troll.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 09, 2013 @ 10:11 pm

Maybe 5% or so. so that $36,000 per year rent that the LL gets is on a property that costs $720,000 to buy.

How do you propose to fix that?

Posted by Guest on Jan. 03, 2013 @ 6:20 pm

Troll.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 03, 2013 @ 6:46 pm

Troll.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 03, 2013 @ 7:04 pm
Posted by marcos on Jan. 03, 2013 @ 8:50 pm

The solution is simple - expropriate the property of all homeowners in San Francisco without compensation, and have the city rent out the newly acquired properties to poor people.

Problem solved!

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Jan. 03, 2013 @ 9:59 pm

For example, we could transform Tim's house into a kommunalka for a lesbian urban farming cooperative - obviously a much higher social use of the house than allowing a bourgeois "alternative" newspaper editor to continue to squat in it.

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Jan. 03, 2013 @ 10:12 pm

people in tangible ways. They merely use those poor folks as a pretext for preaching and meddling.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 04, 2013 @ 8:31 am

if only the bg and the lefties hadn't opposed reasonable development of rental units pre 1979, we might not have had this problem. but oh no, it was all about "pweservation" and now the old hippies got theirs, meanwhile young people already loaded with debt from school aren't able to afford to live here and work at all these "jobs" we allegedly created. As for the people who work for a living servicing the may 'tech' companies? they've been banished to oakland.

it's not all willie's fault ya know even though he and his mob are to blame too, kids.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 04, 2013 @ 5:29 am

their children. Same with Prop 13, social security etc.

The greatest generation gave borth to the "me" generation, and it shows.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 04, 2013 @ 8:32 am

(and BTW, screw Tom Brokaw.)

Posted by lillipublicans on Jan. 04, 2013 @ 8:43 am

If he plays with fire, he's gonna get burned.

Posted by anon on Jan. 04, 2013 @ 9:06 am

is petty and bullshit and demeans these pages and those that want to participate here.

Hide behind the "Guest" default name, change your names, stick to one name (which is what I do because I stand behind what I write), whatever, but "imping" is juvenile, dishonest and will lead to the death of these comment pages.

Posted by Eddie on Jan. 04, 2013 @ 9:56 am

and stalking other posters with his "troll" allegations. That kills these boards too. If Marcos pulls that abuse from here, no doubt the imp'ing would stop too.

But "standing by one's words" here is moot anyway. Nobody knows who "Eddie" is in real life, nor "Greg", nor "Lilli" nor anyone else. We're all anon except for Tim and Steven.

If everyone signed in as "Guest" the imp'ing and stalking would stop, and we could focus only on the message and not the messenger..

Posted by Guest on Jan. 04, 2013 @ 10:08 am

and allows the use of Guest access, is surely an indicator that they regard such flexibility as being important for reasons of anonymity and free speech.

People should look less at who is writing, and more at what they say.

Posted by Anon on Jan. 04, 2013 @ 10:18 am

Troll.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 04, 2013 @ 1:27 pm

the messenger" because you know it works against your ability to spew impertinence and lies.

Not only that, but of those you mention, some have revealed their actual identities in one way or another, so when they are imp'ed, I think an actual crime has been committed.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jan. 04, 2013 @ 10:25 am

aware. And mimickery and satire is not a crime.

(There is a state law against impersonating someone else online, but that exists to deter identity theft of a real person for personal gain. It's not a crime to mimick an anonymous handle for sardonic purposes in a chatroom.)

But hey, ask SFBG for mandatory registration, altho they have always rejected that in the past.

Posted by Anon on Jan. 04, 2013 @ 10:40 am

Troll.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 04, 2013 @ 1:27 pm

I like that when commenters stick to a consistent name, readers can learn their ideas and philosophies. I think that it improves the discussion. I've been reading these pages a lot longer than I have been posting.

Of course, people can do what they want--a consistent screen name is not required. But imping drags down the commentary real fast.

Posted by Eddie on Jan. 04, 2013 @ 10:39 am

as here where Marcos is clearly out of control and needs slapping down. If the SFBG moderator won't take care of him and this problem (and they did remove some of his posts yesterday) then readers have to do that in their own way.

For the other, one clear advantage of posting as "Guest" etc. is that nobody can imp or stalk you. And if you note, Marcos is now indiscriminantly attacking anyone who posts anonymously or who he doesn't know. Such attempts at censorship should not be tolerated.

Posted by Anon on Jan. 04, 2013 @ 10:49 am

just don't do it.

Posted by Eddie on Jan. 04, 2013 @ 10:57 am

Trying to converse with a Situationally Ethically Challenged Troll is like trying to have a conversation with a dining room table.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 04, 2013 @ 11:09 am

He's the problem here.

Posted by Anon on Jan. 04, 2013 @ 11:12 am

Troll.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 04, 2013 @ 1:26 pm

Troll.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 04, 2013 @ 1:27 pm

I become the world. True power, at last.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 04, 2013 @ 10:09 am

“trying to have a conversation with you would be like trying to have an argument with a dining-room table.”

Posted by marcos on Jan. 04, 2013 @ 11:03 am

please don't imp. It's not cool and demeans this site and its participants.

Good enough for you, Anon?

I'll gladly accept donations for babysitting.

Posted by Eddie on Jan. 04, 2013 @ 11:29 am

Check out the Census data for the City...

11% make +200k,

47% make +100K

...so maybe this is not off the wall...

San Mateo County has 20% making +200k.

Check out this "plutonomy" memo from CitiBank (first mentioned in Capitalism a Love Story) and it gives a good picture of what the 1% has cooking for the bottom 80%...

http://www.bluejayway.net/pdf/Plutonomy-citigroup_strategy_memo_part%201...

Posted by Sandy Sanders on Jan. 04, 2013 @ 12:47 pm

And yes, most people I know in SF make 100K-150K, which means the average professional couple in SF is on about 250K pa (coincidentally, that was the AGI for my wife and I in 2011 according to our taxes).

This has two implications:

1) An annual family income of 250K implies a mortgage of 750K to a million, according to current lending guidelines. That puts the average home price in SF also in that range which, according to Zillow, it is.

2) 250K pa means a takehome pay of maybe $13,000 to $15,000 a month. By that benchmark, rent of 3K pa seems reasonable - 20% to 25% of net disposable.

With all this talk of the "one percent", it's interesting to see 47% of SF'ers doing just fine. Given Romney's coincidental acsription of 47% of Americans being welfare parasites, this shows how fortunate we are to be living in a successful business town.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 04, 2013 @ 1:08 pm

What I find surprising isn't so much how high rents are (SF has always been one of the most expensive cities in the country to live in), but that they've gotten so much higher so quickly.

I moved to SF 2 1/2 years ago. I was looking to spend no more than $1,200 a month, approximately a third of my income. There were many one bedroom apartments, not studios, in my price range. Granted, they were mostly in the Sunset, but they were still out there. That is not the case any more. I've been looking and, if I were to move now, I would not be able to afford a one-bedroom, even though I have gotten cost-of-living raises since moving here.

The median rent has skyrocketed in the city over the last couple of years. Rent control does benefit longer-term tenants from increases, but it also can cause them to be stuck in a bad situation. I recently got new, very loud neighbors, and I'm having to just deal with it, because there's no way I can find afford an apartment like the one I have now.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 04, 2013 @ 1:03 pm