San Francisco New Construction & Development:
Residential & Commercial Projects
Highlights from the Q3 2014 Pipeline Report
by the SF Planning
January 2015, compiled by Paragon Real Estate Group
Charts at bottom of report
On December 19th, the San Francisco Planning
Department issued its excellent Q3 2014 Pipeline Report,
which tracks new residential and commercial development in the city. There is a
wealth of data within its 36 pages: Below are some highlights we found most interesting.
The Pipeline includes projects in every stage of the approvals,
permits and construction process, and being listed in the pipeline doesn’t
indicate when or even if the project will be completed. Changes and additions
to the pipeline occur on an ongoing basis: Indeed, it seems rarely a day goes
by nowadays without a big new project being announced. Last but not least, changes
in economic and political circumstances can suddenly and dramatically impact
new development plans and construction: This industry is classically subject to huge boom and bust cycles.
- 50,600 residential units are in the current
pipeline, including condos, houses and apartments, as well as affordable and social-project
housing. Houses constitute far less than 1% of the total units. (There are
currently approximately 381,000 housing units in San Francisco, per 2013 U.S.
- 18,700,000 square feet of commercial space are in
the pipeline, including office, retail, medical, hotel, cultural, institutional
and educational uses. 12 million of the square footage in the pipeline are for office
use. (As of 2013, there were approximately 75.6 million square feet of office
space in the city.)
- 3090 residential units and 280,000 square feet of
commercial space have been added in the past 4 quarters. “The median time to
completion for these projects from the first filing was 43 months.” For smaller
projects of less than 10,000 square feet, the median time dropped to 30 months. Since 2000, approximately 27,000 housing units of all kinds have been added in San Francisco.
And tying new home construction to employment and the real estate market, Socketsite put it succinctly (1/2015): "Around 7,500 units of housing have been built in San Francisco since January 1, 2010. Over the same five years, the number of employed residents has increased by 74,000. And in a nutshell, that ten-to-one ratio has been driving the trend in rents and property values." We believe there are other forces also at play - see our 10 Factors behind the Market article - but this is a big one. How the surge in new construction will affect the market will depend on what type of inventory is added, and whether current trends in population and employment continue.
- 6700 new residential units and 5,400,000 square
feet of commercial space are currently under construction. It is estimated that of the 3 million square feet of office space under construction, half has already been pre-leased for the expansion of a handful of the city's largest high-tech firms.
- Approximately 25,800 of the pipeline’s residential
units are comprised of the Bayview/Hunter’s Point/Candlestick, Park Merced and Treasure
Island projects.“Full realization of
the projects will be decades into the future.” The Bayview/Candlestick and
Treasure Island developments are situated on parcels designated as “Public
- Not counting the 3 big projects mentioned above, the
great majority of both residential and commercial pipeline projects are currently
clustered in the greater South Beach/South of Market/Mission Bay area, the Market
Street corridor, the Potrero Hill/Dogpatch area, and the Mission.
- Approximately 800,000 square feet of manufacturing,
distribution and repair use space would be lost in the course of existing pipeline
development, to be replaced by housing or other commercial uses.
Planning Department Pipeline Report can be downloaded here
. There’s also a nifty interactive map illustrating projects in the pipeline. Our
sincere gratitude to Aksel Olsen and Teresa Ojeda of the SF Planning Department
for compiling this useful and comprehensive report.
5 charts below.
The first and fifth charts below come straight from the
Planning Department Pipeline Report. We created the two district-breakdown charts
to separate out residential and commercial projects and to reflect more common
neighborhood and district names as used in the real estate business (but even
then, the names should be considered gross generalizations). And we added a chart from the CA Analyst's Office March 2015 report as well as one of new-home construction volume in San Francisco by decade for historical context. At the end of the report is a snapshot of the Planning Department map to give an idea of the current number of
development projects in the city.
The charts will be more legible if you adjust your
screen-view to zoom 125% or 150%.
This chart below is not from the pipeline report, but we created it to give more historical context to the subject. 49% of San Francisco’s housing stock was built prior to 1940. As illustrated below, the surge in population during WW II led to a burst of building, which then steadily declined to clearly insufficient levels until the big increase in condo construction at the end of the 1990’s. The 2008 market crash ended that cycle, and the current boom in home construction has been quickly gathering steam only in the last year or so. Since 2010, San Francisco’s population
has gone up by more than 40,000 and the number of employed residents has
increased by over 70,000. Since only 7500 housing units have been added in that timeframe, this has put enormous pressure on the
city’s housing market.
CA Housing Built vs. Housing Needed, 1980 - 2000
From March 2015 LAO report, California's High Housing Costs,
Commercial Construction Pipeline in San Francisco
This snapshot from the interactive map on the
Planning Department’s Pipeline report webpage indicates current projects
in the greater South Beach/South of Market/Mission Bay district, Hayes Valley
and the Market Street corridor.
San Francisco Planning Department
Pipeline & Housing Inventory Reports
Below are links to the SF Planning Department Pipeline
and Housing Inventory reports. They contain huge amount of data, which we have
attempted to represent accurately.As noted
by their authors, who did an incredible job, the original reports themselves are
“compiled and consolidated from different data sources and subject to errors
due to varying accuracy and currency of original sources.”
San Francisco Planning
Department Pipeline Report
2014 SF Planning
Department Housing Inventory Report, Issued April 2015
And this image-link goes to a flowchart of the Planning
review and approvals process:
included herein is from sources deemed reliable,
contain errors and is subject to revision.
Updated March 2015, Paragon Real Estate Group