SAN FRANCISCO—Today more than ever, people want to live in cities, and there’s no greater demand for one than San Francisco and the Bay Area. With demand outpacing supply, the cost of housing has skyrocketed in San Francisco and the surrounding areas. The population of San Francisco has steadily increased since 1980, with people leaving the suburbs for city life. This leaves San Francisco in the middle of its greatest affordability crisis, with the middle class particularly suffering in this extreme housing shortage. San Francisco is now, by most studies, the most expensive city to live in the United States.

To address the housing challenge, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee has set as a goal increasing the available housing stock by up to 30,000 units. In the middle of this crisis, two measures have come to the forefront—one for the voters and one for the board of supervisors. Proposition B asks the voters to determine the value of a waterfront development based on height, and the Housing Balancing Act couples market-rate housing production with affordable housing production. Without a doubt, the key to addressing this growing problem is to build housing at all levels and to provide incentives that encourage free-market developers to build more affordable and middle-class stock.

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