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One City's Student Housing Shortage

March 2020

In San Francisco, there are a number of obstacles to housing production.

San Francisco's housing shortage problem is much larger than market-rate housing, reports Bisnow's Dean Boerner.

"S.F. has about 30 colleges and universities and not nearly enough student housing to match their combined enrollment, says California College of the Arts Director of Campus Planning David Meckel, a panelist at Bisnow's upcoming Bay Area Student Housing Summit."

The city's schools, San Francisco's planning department and the nonprofit San Francisco Housing Action Coalition have addressed the issues over the past decade and determined that the city had about 80,000 enrolled students and only about 9,000 beds.

Not surprisingly, the city placed a number of barriers to building, according to Boerner. The city has addressed some of the issues, including exempting student housing from its inclusionary requirements, which has helped.

But Boerner says other challenges remain in producing more student housing.

"To get there, developers and schools have to overcome a market with formidable challenges. Some, like soaring construction costs and San Francisco's permitting process, affect all types of development. Others are specific to San Francisco's student housing market, says The Dinerstein Cos. West Coast partner Josh Vasbinder, another panelist at Bisnow's upcoming student housing event."

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