A Roundup of Local Housing Measures on Bay Area Primary Ballots

Single-family houses in Mountain View. (Photo by Beth LaBerge/KQED) (Beth LaBerge/KQED)

Voters across the Bay Area will weigh in Tuesday on a spate of housing-related measures, including local tax increases to pay for homeless services and affordable housing construction, as well as proposals to slow office development and cap rent increases.

Each year, as the region's severe housing shortage and affordability crisis continues, cities and counties turn to the ballot to address the issue. Here is a roundup of Bay Area measures related to housing costs and construction.

San Jose: Measure E

In an effort to create ongoing funding for affordable housing production, the measure would establish a permanent tax on the sale or transfer of commercial and residential property in the city valued over $2 million, starting at a rate of 0.75%. For properties worth more than $5 million, the rate would increase to 1%, and up to 1.5% for properties worth more than $10 million. For example, if a home sold for $3 million, the tax owed would be $22,500.

The measure includes exemptions for properties sold or transferred through inheritance, gifts or divorce.

If passed by a majority of voters, it would raise an estimated average of $50 million a year that would be used to build affordable housing for extremely low- to moderate-income residents and help steer homeless residents into shelters or permanent housing.

Oakland: Measure Q

The measure would establish an annual parcel tax — $148 on single-family residences and about $101 per unit on multi-family buildings — to pay for maintenance of Oakland's roughly 130 parks and recreation facilities. Estimated to raise $21 million annually, the tax would expire after 20 years. Seniors and low-income residents would be exempt, and those in foreclosed single-family homes would be eligible for a rebate.


Although the brunt of funds would be spent on park maintenance, 30% would go to homeless services and a small portion to stormwater system improvements.

The measure requires the support of two-thirds of the city's voters.

San Francisco: Proposition E

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In an ongoing struggle to balance housing needs with job creation, Proposition E would set the city’s low- to moderate-income housing target at 2,042 new units each year. If that goal isn’t met, construction permits for new office space would be limited by the same percentage the city failed to meet its housing goal. The measure was introduced by a progressive affordable housing developer. Opponents argue Proposition E, which needs a majority vote to pass, would stall economic growth.

Mountain View: Measure D

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Mountain View's long-standing debate over rent control returns to the ballot next week. Currently, the city's rents are not allowed to climb higher than the annual rate of inflation or the consumer price index, which usually hovers around 3.5%. If Measure D is approved by the majority of voters, rent increases would be capped at 4% each year. The City Council-backed measure would also allow landlords to pass the costs of upgrading units onto tenants in the form of an annual rent increase of up to 10%. Mobile homes would not be impacted by the measure.

Because a family's ability to pay rent or a mortgage is often tied to its ability to find affordable child care, we've included the following two measures in the mix.

Emeryville: Measure F 

City officials in Emeryville are asking voters to approve a 0.25% sales tax increase, raising $2 million annually to hire more police officers and maintain fire department operations and the city's child care development center. The measure needs a two-thirds majority to pass.

Alameda County: Measure C

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About 32,000 children under the age of five in Alameda County qualify for child care subsidies but are not enrolled, according to the county. Measure C proposes a half-percent sales tax, that sunsets in 20 years, to raise an estimated $150 million a year to fund child care vouchers for low-income parents, open more spots in early childhood education centers and increase wages for preschool educators. About 20% of the tax revenues would be used to expand access to free and reduced pediatric health care at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland. The measure requires a two-thirds majority to pass. A similar proposal was narrowly defeated by voters in 2018.