The high cost of housing has come to define the San Francisco Bay Area. It dictates who gets to live here, which in turn dictates who gets to participate in the region’s booming economy and political process. Year after year, the Bay Area tops national lists of the most expensive places to live. Year after year, the number of people without homes grows larger. And the problem never seems to get better. Despite the best efforts of those who work on housing policy, it only gets worse — a dynamic that has now been in play for decades.
This report, the first in a series, aims to determine why housing prices have escalated so dramatically over the past several decades, what the impacts of those escalating costs have been on residents and who has borne the brunt of those impacts. The three other reports in this series offer long-range policy solutions to address this crisis and enable the Bay Area to become a more affordable region. Making these changes means upending current structural systems. It will not be easy to reverse course on the policies, practices and beliefs that have led us to the current housing crisis. But it is work we must do if we want to create a more equitable and sustainable region.
See the other reports in this series at Housing the Region.