SAN FRANCISCO - A two-year-old decision that put a significant number of housing units on hold in San Francisco's eastern neighborhoods has been lifted. On July 30, the Planning Commission passed a new “loss and replacement policy” for lightindustrial uses, allowing builders to move forward on housing projects that include some light-industrial uses, according to the San Francisco Business Times. “The ruling could allow as many as 2,000 housing units to go forward in some 102 pipeline projects filed between 2004 and 2007, none of which required a zoning change when filed,” said the newspaper.


- The rental housing market in Tucson is soft, with a vacancy rate of about 7.8 percent, according to a recently released analysis by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Vacancies began to increase in 2007 due to a growing number of investor-owned rental units coming on the market, said HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research. According to the 2006 American Community Survey, 26 percent of renters in the Tucson area live in single- family detached homes compared with 22 percent in 2000. Demand for an estimated 2,620 new rental units is expected during a three-year forecast period. HUD reported that about 230 units are under construction.


- Apartment vacancy rates in the Denver metro area increased to 6.2 percent during the second quarter, rising from 5.9 percent in the first quarter, reported the Apartment Association of Metro Denver and the Colorado Department of Local Affairs. The second-quarter vacancy rate is identical to the rate reported in the second quarter of last year. Douglas County reported the highest vacancy rate, 8.3 percent, and Denver County had the lowest rate at 5.7 percent. Average rent levels increased $23 year-over-year to $886.14—a new high. Rents last peaked during the third quarter of 2006 at a level of $865.76. The highest average rent was reported in Douglas County at $1,045.23, and the lowest was in Jefferson County at $827.14.


- The City Council recently approved a requirement that adds vacation timeshare developments to the city's affordable housing ordinance. Prior to this move, the requirement that 30 percent of the total units in any new development must be affordable did not apply to time-shares. Councilor Patti Bushee said the move should have been made some time ago. There was much debate over a proposed $200,000 in-lieu fee developers can pay instead of offering affordable units in a development. The City Council approved a plan that sets different prices for in-lieu fees depending on location. Developments in the northeast and southeast would pay more than the southwest.