AIRBNB BOOTS OFFENDERS
Short-term rental service Airbnb reports that it has removed 924 listings from its service. Airbnb, which has been criticized by many as a threat to the housing supply, said that the removed listings concerned units that “appeared to be shared by hosts with multiple entire unit listings that could impact long-term housing availability or did not provide the best possible experience on our platform.” Between February 2016 and February 2017, the service kicked out 317 listings for entire homes, 26 for private rooms, and 580 for shared rooms.
The service said it remains committed to cooperating with city leaders “to further progressive policies that protect public safety and affordable housing, while fostering the economic opportunity of home sharing for S.F. families, businesses, and communities.”
SAN FRANCISCO RENTS DOWN NEARLY 9 PERCENT
Though San Francisco remains an expensive place to live, its rental prices have dropped over the past year, according to a new report from real estate site Zumper.com. With $3,270 as a median rent for a one-bedroom apartment, Zumper noted that that San Francisco rent was more than double the state median of $1,617. However, that was down 8.9 percent from a year earlier. Two-bedroom rents were $4,500, down 7.6 percent, reports Zumper.
SECOND-HOME DEDUCTIONS TARGETED FOR REVENUE
Californians who take deductions on their state income taxes for second homes would see that deduction go away if a bill under consideration in Sacramento passes. AB 71, called the Bring California Home Act and authored by Assemblyman David Chiu of San Francisco, would immediately withdraw that tax credit and use the revenue — an estimated $220–$300 million — to help fund affordable housing in the state.
“We need to be sure that all Californians have roofs over their heads before we provide tax breaks to help some people with two homes,” said Chiu. “We need a reliable, permanent funding stream to support production of affordable housing that the market simply will not build.”
The bill passed the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee in early March. It next goes to the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee.
SAN FRANCISCO AMONG RENTER-MAJORITY CITIES
San Francisco continues to be one of a handful of large American cities in which the majority of residents rent instead of own their homes. It is one of only 21 out of 400 urban areas with populations greater than 100,000 that are renter-majority cities, according to U.S. Census data highlighted in a recent report by apartment-listing website Abodo. Nowhere does the renter majority hit 60 percent — the highest is College Station–Bryan, Tex., at 59.1 percent — and most of the other 21 areas are below 54 percent. San Francisco (which is paired with Oakland as a metro area in the report) is at 50.9 percent.
The demographics of owners versus renters are not surprising. Renters tend to be younger (most were under 44 years old, with the largest block of them between 25 and 34); 77.16 percent of owners were older than 45, according to Abodo. The company notes that “Nationwide, renters are on the rise. In fact, 2015 saw 1.4 million new renter households, creating the largest percentage of renter households the nation has seen since the 1960s — 36.4 percent.”
In San Francisco, rental rates have reportedly started to decline slightly from their recent peaks, but they still are near historic highs. Meanwhile, the continued high cost of purchasing and the low available inventory of homes for sale has locked out many people who would like to buy; and some families will be unable to purchase a home for a long time, having been crushed by the foreclosure crisis during the Great Recession.
IMMIGRANT TENANT PROTECTION ACT
A new state bill by Assemblyman David Chiu aims to protect tenants who are immigrants. AB 291, which passed the Assembly Judiciary Committee in late March, would prevent landlords from disclosing information about a tenant’s immigration status as a way to pressure a tenant to leave the residence.
“Tenants should not have to live in fear simply because they are immigrants or refugees. Trump has declared war on immigrants, and it is clear that ripping apart families through mass deportations could be our new reality,” said Chiu. “This bill will deter the small minority of landlords who unscrupulously take advantage of the real or perceived immigration status of their tenants to engage in abusive acts.”
“During other housing market recoveries, we’ve seen those recoveries associated with a rise in inventory, rather than a drop. The fact that we’re in a pretty well-recovered housing market and we’re looking at a decline in inventory rather than a rise is really a head-scratcher.”
—Ralph McLaughlin, chief economist at Trulia, quoted in Siliconbeat