The housing deficit continues to grow in the Bay Area, which produced only 83% of needed housing units from 1999 through 2005, according to a report by the Bay Area Council. The production of affordable units was even worse, as the nine-county region produced only 42% of the very low-, low- and moderate-income units prescribed in the Association of Bay Area Governments’ regional housing needs determination (RHND).

The Council, a CEO-led business organization, said the region’s housing situation is an economic concern. “While salaries tend to be high in the region, costs of living are even higher than comparative regions (almost exclusively due to housing costs), resulting in workers paying a very large ‘premium’ to reside in this region,” the Council concluded. “Thus, as talented workers consider where to live, very high housing costs can discourage new talent from moving to the Bay Area while pushing current residents elsewhere.”

Contra Costa County has produced more than its share of total units, and Solano County has nearly met its overall share. Other counties, however, saw less building than prescribed by the RHND. San Mateo County’s 9,365 permits were only 59% of the county’s housing share.

Interestingly, the Council found that the jurisdictions that fell the farthest short of their RHND goals were cities of 35,000 to 75,000 people. Together, they had produced only 59% of their RHND total. Smaller cities jointly exceeded their target figures, and larger cities met 85% of their RHND goals.

Seven cities provided more than 100% of their share of affordable units: San Jose, Pleasant Hill, Richmond, Hercules, Pinole, San Bruno and Colma. The cities of Petaluma and San Pablo nearly met their goals, according to the Council.

The Bay Area Council, previously headed by outgoing Business, Transportation and Housing Secretary Sunne Wright McPeak, urged approval of SB 1800 (Ducheny). The builder-sponsored bill would require local governments to zone for 20 years of housing needs and prepare 10-year housing plans, increase by-right developments and decrease environmental review. However, the bill has received little support (see Capitol Update, page 3).

The Council’s report is available at