Mayor Ed Lee has been making a point this year of addressing the dearth of new housing that's actually affordable to people who make average incomes as opposed to the wealthy or the poor, for whom plenty of housing has been getting built. As the Examiner calculates, of the 14,448 units currently entitled as of the third quarter of 2014 meaning in the immediate construction pipeline only 6 percent, or 839 of them are for middle-income earners, while 12,178 are luxury units for the rich, and 1,431 are for the poor and those making well below median income.
Also, looking back from 2007 to the present, 19,267 new units have been built, with only 1,213 (again, 6 percent) priced for the middle class, and 5,328 income-restricted for the poor.
How does one get developer to build housing that is not just for the rich when the demand for such housing doesn't seem to be dying down? Well, large projects totaling some 20,000 units are getting built in Hunters Point, Parkmerced, and Treasure Island where Mayor Lee says that three quarters of the units will be affordable to middle- and low-income households. But only one quarter, or five thousand units across those three neighborhoods will be earmarked for moderate income households, i.e. 80 to 120 percent of area median income, which right now is defined as $59,200 to $89,000 a year. 10,000 of those new units will be more traditionally "affordable housing," with income restrictions below $59,000.
Meanwhile, some upsetting new maps based on census numbers from the last 20 years show how much richer San Francisco has become in that span of time. As SFGate reports, "In 1990, only three neighborhoods [Seacliff, Presidio Heights, and Telegraph Hill] had more than 45% of its households with incomes over $150,000. In 2012, the year with the most recent numbers, that number jumped to nine [now including parts of the Marina, Cow Hollow, Russian Hill, Twin Peaks, and Potrero Hill]." Keep in mind that median household income in 1990 across the city was $33,418, and by 2012 that number had grown to $76,010, a 127% increase. Inflation during that same period was 2.68%, and the national median household income remained almost unchanged if adjusted for inflation, despite fluctuation over 22 years, at around $51,000. (Nominally, household incomes across the country have gone up 75 percent in that period, unadjusted.)