In Silicon Valley Suburbs, Calls to Limit the Soaring Rents

After years of punishing rent increases, activists across Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area are pushing a spate of rent control proposals, driven by outrage over soaring housing prices and fears that the growing income gap is turning middle-class families into an endangered species. Those campaigns, if successful, would lead to the largest expansion of tenant laws since the 1970s.

“In the national picture, tenants’ rights and housing advocacy for the poor has been pretty sleepy for several decades,” said Michelle Wilde Anderson, a law professor at Stanford. “California is starting to wake up, and it may lead to national change.”

Some interesting facts from the article: over 60% of Mountain View are renters. So are 50% of Burlingame. I thought only SF is renter-majority. The landlords among us are seeing a sea of pitchforks…

Tyler Cowen’s take.

Rent control is restricted from covering new apartments by California law. What’s more of a threat is restrictions and fees placed on developers by Bay Area cities and towns.

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If cities had allowed builders to build to the market there would be no housing crisis

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It’s all about protecting existing renters. Owners and renters alike don’t want new people to come in.


Mom n pop landlords take reference from professional property managers and apartment leasing.

In most cities, the middle class own homes.

I was always under the impression that the high costs in the Bay area is because of lack of open land to build. Area being a valley and all.

So is that the case or is it not?

If builders want to buid, is there land here? and if there is, then isnt it a matter of time…?

There is definitely land. Until not too long ago there was a big corn field around El Camino and Lawrence Expwy. Now some big McMansions sit there. There is still a big corn field around Montague Expwy next to Cadence.

I pointed them out because I am constantly amazed seeing agriculture land in the middle of cities.

There is also a matter of what types of buildings you put up. On the ex-cornfield at Lawrence builders are selling SFH’s at 1.5M+ a pop. A better use of the land would be condos or townhouses that can fit in more families at more affordable price. Or even rental apartments.

Truth is pols only pay lip service to the"housing crisis", but they are not lifting even one finger to do anything about it. With housing cities have to pay for schools, roads etc. Although they are getting very good at milking the builders to pay for those (and builders in turn pass the cost onto buyers). With Prop 13 locking in property tax, it’s at best cost-neutral. Versus putting up big office buildings which cities can charge business taxes on the companies inside. That’s where the tax money is.

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There is def space to build even in SF proper, our fav 7x7, but that doesn’t mean developers will follow through.

SS didn’t say what’s the reason though…

Well, if a developer wants to sell out one has to think:

  1. project not penciling out, esp with all those affordable units requirements
  2. wants money to buy our fav house at 166 Bridgeview Drive :grin:

I stopped building spec homes years ago…Theonly good lots left are tear downs…The solution is up zoning, higher density and higher height limits. No political will to make these happen.

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I do see some up zoning in Mt View, Sunnyvale, and Redwood City. There are a number of huge apartment buildings going up.

IMHO, is a myth that more higher density housing would stabilize price. I think it merely slow down the appreciation. Good for many bloggers here, more time to accumulate downpayment to buy cheaper houses.

Building apartments will affect the high end rental market…already has…But there is still a shortage of sfhs