by marvin J Ramirez
The housing market has taught us all a lesson. It happened about 12 years ago, and it happened again. As most of us have witnessed, the opportunity of becoming rich overnight selling real estate seems to have been vanishing again.
Those who saw their income skyrocketing are seeing now the loss, little by little those gains they achieves, slowly starting to disappear.
Meanwhile, millions of people who don’t own a home, might never have a chance to achieve that dream, as San Francisco’s small supply of vacant land, continues ending in the hands of speculators to build luxurious condos that most can’t afford.
The City, in the other hand, is helping a lot by demanding a small portion of new condo constructions, to be allocated for low-income residents.
But the shortage of housing is sending other away. Armies of families are leaving San Francisco, so losing the City its precious diversity.
“As we praise San Francisco for its diversity, we fail to address the reality that developers are stripping this diversity from our city. As we see families flee our city in record numbers, the concern that affordable housing is the leading cause of family flight in San Francisco is no longer a question,” said a youth commission’s statement.
By the same token, the City, instead of selling these new apartment to its low-income tenants, continue renting them, so perpetuating these people as renters forever.
It would be like a miracle or a voice fallen from heaven if we heard any member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to advocate or propose this idea of selling, not renting the newly built condos to those low-income families, as their only alternative to securing permanent, inexpensive housing.
Let’s not forget that the externalities associated with homeownership are many, and very positive.
The results of studies suggest that some of the effects of homeownership bring residential stability within the communities. And, as much as homeownership increases residential stability, it appears to be correlated with higher school attainment, and creates self-steam.
The Board of Supervisors and the Mayor of San Francisco should become champions to starting this endeavor of empowering the people by changing the course by providing ownership instead of rental units to the people they want to help. Instead of them paying the rent, they could be paying their mortgage.