Brighter Prospects for Housing Permits in San Francisco


Well-known member
Aug 26, 2023
In the recent times, there has been a sharp drop in housing permit filings. The permit filings is lowest since 2018. To address this issue, the Department of Building Inspection (DBI) is implementing legislative and internal reforms that will speed up the issuance of new housing construction permits. San Francisco's construction officials are optimistic about these reforms and believe that they will reach the goal of constructing over 82,000 new homes by 2031.

The reforms now require builders to secure zoning approval before applying for building permits, this will hopefully cut permit issuance times in half. Furthermore, housing permit applications are required to be submitted electronically, which will not only allow real-time tracking but also reduce the average permit time. In 2023, the average permit time was 391 days.

If you want to learn more on this topic, you can read this article
San Francisco, California, United States
Thanks for sharing, @Nomad! It's nice hearing that all the planned reforms to San Francisco's construction permitting are well underway.

San Francisco took a lot of heat this year for its ridiculously slow permit process, and rightly so. A big reason San Francisco was in the spotlight was because of the San Francisco Housing Policy and Practice Review, which was released a few months ago by California's Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). The final report included "Findings and Required Actions that San Francisco (City) must take to reform its housing approvals ecosystem and facilitate housing production." If you check out the report using the link I shared, you'll see the review's key findings listed on pages 8-14. I recall that @linux.poet also touched on several of San Francisco's problems over in this thread.

It's worth noting that the state's numerous "required actions" (listed on pages 15-26 of the report) are legally binding on San Francisco. As stated in the report, "failure to implement the Required Actions will initiate HCD’s process to revoke housing element compliance and may result in additional enforcement action." It's great to see California's governor and HCD using their full legal authority, in tandem with AB 1114, to ensure that critical reforms to San Francisco's permitting process get implemented. San Francisco's local government was clearly unable to reform itself for whatever cases like this it really does pay to have a strong state government that's willing/able to step in and intervene.

For further information on this GPT, visit the U.S. National/Federal GPT page.