Welcome to the RBA

The Residential Builders Association of San Francisco also known as the RBA represents more than 300 of the most reputable and successful firms in the construction industry

As an Association, the RBA is dedicated to improving conditions and enhancing the common interest of the construction industry in San Francisco. Through business networking, industry forums and strong representation and advocacy to government and professional bodies on a local and regional level the RBA continues to progressively disseminate vital industry information to its membership.

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November 11, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO – Fix global warming or cook dinner on a gas stove?

That’s the choice for people in 13 cities and one county in California that have enacted new zoning codes encouraging or requiring all-electric new construction.  

The codes, most of them passed since June, are meant to keep builders from running natural gas lines to new homes and apartments, with an eye toward creating fewer legacy gas hookups as the nation shifts to carbon-neutral energy sources.

For proponents, it's a change that must be made to fight climate change. For natural gas companies, it's a threat to their existence. And for some cooks who love to prepare food with flame, it's an unthinkable loss.

Natural ga...

September 11, 2019

Image from shuttershock 

The California State Senate approved the final version of Berkeley-based State Sen. Nancy Skinner’s “Housing Crisis Act of 2019” last week, a new law that “suspends local practices that are documented obstacles to housing production” such as housing moratoriums and certain fees.

Since the Assembly also passed the bill, dubbed SB 330, earlier in the week, that leaves it clear for Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk and presumed signature.

“SB 330 is based on the premise that much of the housing we need has already been planned for by local communities,” a statement from Skinner’s office after the final votes reads.

“But that housing is not getting built. [...] In effect until 2025, the bill’s provisions require cities and...

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors quashed Mayor London Breed’s proposed charter amendment Thursday that aimed to streamline the approval of affordable housing projects. Breed needed the support of the majority of supervisors to get the plan on the November ballot. She didn’t get it.

Breed’s proposal sought to eliminate some bureaucratic steps in the process of approving affordable and teacher housing, such as the public’s ability to challenge proposed projects. The changes, she said, could have saved millions of dollars and between six and 18 months per project.

The measure — which would have amended the City Charter — would have also streamlined the approval process for middle-income housing for people who earn up to 140% of the ar...

Oregon just staked its claim as the state that’s most aggressively trying to address affordable housing.

The Beaver State passed what’s effectively a state-wide ban on single-family zoning on Sunday, the last day of a dramatic legislative session that saw Oregon Senate Republicans flee the state to avoid a vote on a cap-and-trade climate bill.

Political theatrics didn’t derail House Bill 2001, however. Three of the eight senate Republicans ultimately voted in favor of the bill, which passed the Senate 17 to 9 and sailed through Oregon’s House of Representatives. The bill is now waiting for the signature of Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat.

The bill doesn’t directly ban single-family zoning, which limits a residential plot to only sin...

June 21, 2019

It's gotten a lot harder for first-time homebuyers to nab that dream house. The pool of smaller, affordable starter houses is low. And increasingly, first-time homebuyers are competing with investors who are buying up these homes.

Last year, investors accounted for 1 in 5 starter-priced homes, according to data released by CoreLogic on Thursday. The rate of investor purchases of starter homes has been rising and has nearly doubled since 1999.

Tonya Jones, a Realtor in metro Atlanta, says it is frustrating both for agents and for their first-time homebuying clients when they can't compete with investors.

First-time buyers typically put down 3% to 5%, Jones said. "Then they're walking in competing with an all-cash buyer who can close w...

It was March 13, 1874, when San Francisco first lost its soul.

At least that’s what it said on The San Francisco Chronicle letters page, where an irate reader was protesting plans for the Palace Hotel — the new tallest building in San Francisco. At all of seven stories and 120 feet, the unnamed author said, it would block views and be a blight on the skyline for generations.

“It may be too late, but we hope not, to improve on this lamentable state of things,” the unsigned letter finished.

I think about this letter every time a new outside-the-city publication calls the time of death on San Francisco, most recently the Washington Post’s “How San Francisco broke America’s heart.”

The stories, particularly the recent ones, share similar...

WESTPORT, Conn. — A dirt field overgrown with weeds is the incongruous entrance to one of America’s wealthiest towns, a short walk to a Rodeo Drive-like stretch replete with upscale stores such as Tiffany & Co.

But this sad patch of land is also the physical manifestation of a broader turf war over what type of housing — and ultimately what type of people — to allow within Westport’s borders.

It started when a developer known for building large luxury homes envisioned something different back in 2014 for the 2.2 acre property: a mix of single- and multifamily housing that would accommodate up to 12 families. A higher density project is more cost efficient, he said, and would allow him to sell the units for less than the typical Westport...

California’s 2018 population growth was the slowest in state history, new demographic data show — underscoring shifting immigration patterns, declining birthrates and economic strains that are making it harder for some to afford living here.

The state added 186,807 residents last year, bringing the estimated total population to 39,927,315 as of Jan. 1, according to estimates released by the state Department of Finance on Wednesday. The overall growth rate slipped to 0.47% last year from 0.78% in 2017, the slowest since data collection started in 1900, department spokesman H.D. Palmer said.

Births in the state were down by more than 18,000 compared with the previous year.

Ethan Sharygin, a demographer with the state, said researchers...

here has never been a town like the one San Francisco is becoming, a place where a single industry composed almost entirely of rich people thoroughly dominates the local economy. Much of the money that’s been squished out of the rest of the world gets funneled by the internet pipes to this little sliver of land on the Pacific Ocean, jutting out into the glory of the bay. The city now sits atop a geyser of cash created from what the scholar Shoshana Zuboff calls“behavioral surplus”—the natural resource created from your behavior, which is to say your mind.

Literal colonies of the working poor now cling to forgotten streets in RV communities. Homeless encampments are stitched onto any liminal plot of land. To lose your apartment doesn’t m...

San Francisco is now the world’s most expensive place to build.

The city’s construction costs rose 5% last year, and it’s now more pricey than New York, according to a report released Thursday by consulting company Turner & Townsend.

Costs rose amid demand for new buildings from the booming tech sector, plus a severe construction labor shortage and a spike in steel prices attributed to U.S. and China tariffs. Rising costs are stalling and killing much-needed San Francisco housing projects, exacerbating the shortage, according to developers.

A long-standing problem is the lack of construction workers, with many veterans leaving the industry after the 2008 recession. High housing costs also have caused some workers to move out of...

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Residential Builders Association

1717 17th St - Suite 105

San Francisco CA 94103

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