SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – Renters living in so-called affordable housing now in many cases pay more than their market neighbors.
These affordable homes are not tied to traditional fluctuations in the housing market and promising tenants like Christine McDow say they should be.
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McDow is set to graduate from Middlebury College in the comfort of her childhood room in North Carolina, where she also just landed her first full-time job.
âI’m going to be working at a nonprofit consultancy and in the financial district,â McDow said.
Her new role will take her to San Francisco if she can find an apartment she can afford. McDow qualifies for affordable housing, but while searching the city’s website, she found that some of the affordable housing units are more expensive than some market-priced units.
âI think the one bedroom furnished was actually cheaper than the unfurnished one,â McDow said.
According to Apartment List, rents in San Francisco have fallen 27% since the start of the pandemic. A one-bedroom apartment averaged $ 3,500 per month; now it has fallen to $ 1,983.
Units below the market rate (BMR) have not experienced a decrease in rent; in fact, in Dave Osgood’s building, the rents are going up.
âThe so-called below-market rate and the market rate seem to merge,â Osgood said.
There are 76 units below the market rate in the Towers at Rincon Apartments, Osgood says all year round he has seen people move out as units that are cheaper at the market rate become available.
âThere can be up to 20% of them empty,â Osgood said.
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Studios on the city’s Dahlia website range from nearly $ 1,200 per month to over $ 1,700 per month. One bedroom apartments can go up to $ 2,800 per month.
At Avalon on King Street BMR, tenants are locked into one-bedroom leases for over $ 2,700 a month, but now in that same building, a market-rate unit of the same size is renting for less. The city’s affordable housing portal is full of more expensive units than similar units at market price.
In a statement, the mayor’s housing office said, âThe city has rent procedures in place that ensure affordable housing complies with the Town Planning Code and other regulations that keep rents below. market rate between 10 and 20% below the market. The DAHLIA system does not allow a building owner to request rents above the market. Avalon in Mission Bay is an outlierâ¦ MOHCD will contact the owner of the building in Avalon, strongly encouraging them to use the DAHLIA affordable housing portal to fill their waiting list and reduce their affordable rents below their units market price.
âPlaces like San Francisco are getting cheaper, but by no means affordable,â said Rob Warnock, research associate for Apartment List.
Warnock explains that BMRs are not tied to the real estate market and therefore their prices are not as volatile, but rather tied to income levels set by the HUD that have not declined.
Warnock says more people have the right to affordable housing because of the pandemic.
âThis puts a lot of downward pressure on the market which puts more attention on the cheaper units,â Warnock said.
Tenants say they want to see the city reassess how it determines affordability.
âI think the city needs to recalculate the market rate,â McDow said.
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