Tying Office Development to Affordable Housing Production


Economic impact report outlines implications of the “San Francisco Balanced Development Act,” a measure on the ballot for voters in March 2020


San Francisco, CA — The Controller’s Office has issued an economic impact report about the “San Francisco Balanced Development Act,” one of the five ballot measures that San Francisco voters will decide at the March 3, 2020 election.


Proposition M, which was approved by voters in 1986, limits the amount of additional new office space that the City can authorize in a year. The March measure could further limit new office development, depending on how close the City comes to meeting an affordable housing target set by state and regional agencies. The report describes how the measure would not relax any of the City’s planning restrictions on housing development, nor would it generate any new funding for affordable housing. It explains that, on the contrary, because new office development pays for affordable housing through the City’s Jobs-Housing Linkage fee, restrictions on office development will reduce funding sources for new affordable housing.


The “San Francisco Balanced Development Act”, like Prop M before it, will continue to feature in conversations on the connections between economic growth and housing affordability. The report finds that while job growth in the City has far outpaced housing development since 2012, the housing situation for low- and moderate-income households has generally improved, with incomes growing faster than housing costs for most income groups. The report further discusses how by further limiting office development in the face of strong demand, office rents will be driven up, making office space less affordable for tenants, and pricing out those employers who are unable to afford rising rents. This, the Controller’s Office of Economic Analysis finds, would lead to a reduction in the size of the city’s economy, the City’s population and income, and employment base – relative to a baseline projection of growth – over the next 20 years.


Download the full report here


For questions about the impact report, please contact:

Ted Egan, Phd.D., Chief Economist at ted.egan@sfgov.org.


For all press inquiries, please email CON.Media@sfgov.org.


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About the Office of the Controller

The Controller's Office works to ensure the City's financial integrity and to promote efficient, effective, and accountable government. We strive to be a model for good government and to make the City a better place to live and work. The Controller's Office is responsible for governance and conduct of key aspects of the City's financial operations, including operating the City's financial systems and procedures, maintaining the City's internal control environment, processing payroll for City employees, managing the City's bonds and debt portfolio, and processing and monitoring the City's budget. The department produces regular reports and audits on the City's financial and economic condition and the operations and performance of City government.


About the Office of Economic Analysis

The Office of Economic Analysis (OEA) is a division of the Controller’s Office that is responsible for reviewing pending legislation and producing economic impact reports on items having a material impact on the City’s economy. In addition to its legislative review and analysis, the OEA also produces special reports on economic topics for the Mayor or Members of the Board of Supervisors and produces monitoring reports and forecasts on the local economy for City departments and outside groups.