Can we make housing prices reasonable?
I'm not asking for cheap, but I am asking for reasonable prices on housing. I would like to afford to live in this city without having to sell a kidney in order to pay rent this month. I moved here thinking that paying $1200-1300 for a one bedroom in a bad neighborhood was ridiculous. I'm starting to realize that I was lucky having that place. I am looking at apartments now and I am having difficulty finding any place for less than $1500. How is a student to live and study in San Francisco? An apartment in San Francisco eats up about half my student loan money for a semester in one month.
Isn't San Francisco supposed to be rent-controlled? According to the San Francisco Tenants' Union, it is. The SFTU says that rents can only be increased on an annual basis and only by inflation, but my rent went up over $100 a month last year in the middle of a Great Recession. According to the SFTU, rent increases were 2% last year and 2.2% this year in the middle of the worst economy our country has seen since a third of it was "ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished." We should not have to have 25% unemployment like happened during the Great Depression to lower housing prices.
We need to reform rent control. We need to make this city livable again. I think that we need to do away with annual increases in rent. Make this a biennial process. Allow renters to catch up with the new rent before a landlord raises it again. In all honesty, I do not see the need for increases of any kind, because in California property taxes barely go up annually so a property owners costs do not increase annually. Therefore, it does not make sense for rental prices to increase annually.
One way or another, we as a community need to find a way to get a handle on the ridiculous rental prices in San Francisco.