New poll shows San Franciscans are hungry for more housing 

click to enlarge housing
  • Mike Koozmin/S.F. Examiner file photo
  • A new survey polled San Franciscans on top issues they are facing and how they feel about the direction of The City. Many listed cost of living, homelessness, and housing as their top concerns.
San Franciscans are worried about the cost of living and mostly blaming the spike on rising housing prices, according to a new poll of voters in what has become the nation’s priciest city.

A majority of those polled — registered voters in San Francisco — said the most pressing issue in The City is the increased cost of living because of ballooning rents and housing costs, according to the poll released Wednesday by San Francisco Survey. However, 46 percent said The City is headed in the right direction.

The poll asked 631 people in Chinese and English a series of questions about what was driving up the cost of living in The City. It was a follow-up to a September poll in which the group found that city residents were increasingly worried about affordability.

In the latest poll, 71 percent said San Francisco has become a much more expensive place to live in recent years. When asked about the top three problems “you and your family” are facing, cost of living was first, followed by housing and crime and safety.

Those polled most often linked the cost of living to housing costs, and that was true for renters and homeowners.

Most respondents said that a lack of middle-income housing was the main factor driving affordability issues, followed by growth in the tech sector, a lack of rental units and too much high-end housing.

The solution: build more housing.

Sixty-eight percent said that would solve cost-of-living problems.

While no specific definition for affordable housing was given, another 66 percent said cost of living would decline if more family housing was built.

Affordability, homelessness and housing topped the list of issues that are most important to San Franciscans. Cost of living was The City’s main issue, followed by homelessness and housing.

When it comes to who is to blame, those polled had a mixed response.

Underinvestment in housing topped the list, followed by developers and The City’s desirability as a place to live.

Still, respondents also blamed City Hall’s policies and the general economy.

Mayor Ed Lee’s office has said the main avenue The City has to help the middle class find reasonably priced housing is to build more low-income housing to stabilize prices in the market.

But Peter Cohen, co-director at the Council of Community Housing Organizations, said that is wishful thinking, not policy. The City needs to get developers to include more affordable, middle-income units in their buildings to impact the housing crunch for the middle class. That is not happening in any real way, he said.

The Web survey polled people from Nov. 4 to Nov. 7 who are demographically representative of voters in San Francisco.

About The Author

Jonah Owen Lamb

Jonah Owen Lamb

Bio:
Born and raised on a houseboat in Sausalito, Lamb has written for newspapers in New York City, Utah and the San Joaquin Valley. He was most recently an editor at the San Luis Obispo Tribune for nearly three years. He has written for The S.F. Examiner since 2013 and covers criminal justice and planning.
Pin It
Favorite

More by Jonah Owen Lamb

Sunday, Dec 4, 2016

Videos

Readers also liked…

Most Popular Stories

© 2016 The San Francisco Examiner

Website powered by Foundation