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Housing supply and displacement in San Francisco

Joe Cortright recently wrote about a study by Kate Pennington (UC Berkeley), which looked at the impact of housing production on legal eviction in San Francisco. The goal was to figure out if new housing supply actually causes displacement.

To do this, Pennington went block-by-block and looked at new housing projects, as well as over a decades’ worth of eviction notices. 

The relationship between the two was found to be “statistically indistinguishable from zero.” In other words, the “monthly probability of an eviction notice” does not change when new housing supply is completed nearby.

Some have been critical of her findings and some have questioned whether legal eviction notices are, in fact, the right proxy for displacement.

But I agree with Joe Cortright in that this still feels like a meaningful relationship to understand, especially when we’re talking about a tight housing market like San Francisco’s.

Photo by Matthew Cabret on Unsplash

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