San Jose’s Demographics

Population: 1,041,466
Households: 323,319
Housing Units: 336,507
Source: California Department of Finance, Table E-5

Employed Residents: 562,588
Source: ACS 2019 5 year estimates

In 2020, 25.7% of San Jose’s population was White while 2.8% was African American, 36.1% was Asian, and 31.6% was Latinx. People of color in San Jose comprise a proportion above the overall proportion in the Bay Area as a whole.
Source: 2020 Decennial Census

Rate of population growth, 2010 to 2020: 10.1%
Rate of housing unit addition, 2010 to 2020: 7.2%
Source: California Department of Finance, Table E-5

Over the same period, San Jose grew more slowly than Santa Clara County, which had a 9.2% population increase, or the nine-county Bay Area region, which had a 8.6% population increase.

The number of new homes built in San Jose and Santa Clara County has not kept pace with demand, resulting in longer commutes, increasing prices, and exacerbating issues of displacement and homelessness.

 

Housing Types in San Jose

It is important to have a variety of housing types to meet the needs of a community today and in the future. In 2020, 52.6% of homes in San Jose were single family detached (generally the most expensive type of home), 9.7% were single family attached, 6.9% were small multifamily (2-4 units), and 27.5% were medium or large multifamily (5+ units). Between 2010 and 2020, the number of multifamily units increased more than single-family units. In San Jose, the share of the housing stock that is detached single family homes is higher than the average of other jurisdictions in the region.
Source: California Department of Finance, Table E-5


Jobs & Housing in San Jose

Jobs: 468,494
Employed Residents per Household: 1.74
Jobs per Employed Resident: 0.79
Jobs-Housing Balance Ratio: 1.33
Source: ACS 2019 5 year estimates

Note: Jobs-Housing Balance is a measurement used by planners that assumes that a balanced community is one where people can both live and work. This ratio compares the number of jobs in a community to the number of housing units.

Jobs-Housing Fit: 3.29 low wage jobs per low-cost rental unit
Source: Jobs from LEHD Origin-Destination Employment Statistics 2019; households from U.S. Census, American Community Survey B25056, B25061

Note: Jobs-Housing Fit measures the mismatch between wages and housing affordability as the ratio of low-wage jobs (less than $3,333/month) to the number of low-cost rental units (less than $1,500/month). In San Jose, there are more than 3 low-wage workers competing for each affordable home.


Renting in San Jose

Percent of population that rents: 43.2%
Source: ACS 2019 5 year estimates

Median Monthly Rent (1 bedroom apartment): $2,450
Rent Change Year over Year: +12%
Source: Zumper, February 2022

Cost Burden in San Jose

Cost-Burdened (30% – 50% income spent on housing)
Renter Households: 25.4% of renter households (35,706)
Homeowner Households: 28.9% of homeowner households (53,274)

Severely Cost-Burdened (more than 50% of income spent on housing)
Renter Households: 24.2% of renter households (34,054)
Homeowner Households: 12% of homeowner households (22,109)
Source: ACS 2019 5 year estimates

Note: Current standards measure housing cost in relation to gross household income: households spending more than 30 percent of their income, including utilities, are generally considered to be overpaying or “cost burdened.” Severe cost burden occurs when households pay 50 percent or more of their gross income for housing. The impact of high housing costs falls disproportionately on extremely low-, very low-, and low-income households, especially renters. While some higher-income households may choose to spend greater portions of their income for housing, the cost burden for lower-income households reflects choices limited by a lack of a sufficient supply of housing affordable to these households.

Homelessness in San Jose

2019 Homeless Count: 6,097 persons, including 5,117 unsheltered and 980 sheltered (+41% from 2017)
Source: 2019 Homeless Point In Time Count


Overcrowding in San Jose

Total Rental Homes: 140,514
Overcrowded Homes: 13,672
Severely Overcrowded Homes: 9,145
Percent of Rental Homes, Overcrowded: 16.2%
Source: ACS 2019 5 year estimates

  • The U.S. Census defines an overcrowded unit as one occupied by 1.01 persons or more per room (excluding bathrooms and kitchens). Units with more than 1.5 persons per room are considered severely overcrowded.

Note: Overcrowding increases health and safety concerns and stresses the condition of the housing stock and infrastructure. Overcrowding is strongly related to household size (particularly for large and very-large households) and the availability of suitably sized housing. Overcrowding impacts both owners and renters; however, renters are generally more significantly impacted. 


2014-2022 Regional Housing Needs Allocation 

Every eight years, the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) process is used to assign each city and county in California their “fair share” of new housing units to build. These units of housing are intended to accommodate existing need and projected growth in the region. The RHNA process is critical because it requires all cities and counties to plan for the housing needs of their residents, regardless of income, in an effort to plan for future growth and ease the Bay Area’s acute housing crisis. 

Many cities and counties regularly fall short of their RHNA targets, as the Bay Area’s housing crisis continues to grow. Each spring, jurisdictions are required to provide an Annual Progress Report to show how effective their efforts have been in achieving housing development targets by income level. The table below shows San Jose’s progress.

San Jose’s 2015-2022 RHNA Permit Progress as of 12/2021
Affordability LevelRHNA TargetPermits IssuedProgress to Target
Very Low Income9233207121.0%
Low Income54283937.1%
Moderate Income6188259144.1%
Above Moderate Income1423115052105.8
Total350802010757.3%

Permitting progress as of December 2020. Source: HCD 2020 Housing Element Annual Progress Report Permit Summary.

2023-2031 RHNA Allocation

In January of 2023, about a year after local jurisdictions are given their final RHNA numbers, the local planning process will culminate in the Housing Element. This is a pivotal document that serves as a Constitution for land use planning and accounts for how and where the jurisdiction will accommodate allocated housing units. It must identify adequate sites for the full RHNA and all types of housing, including emergency shelters, rental housing, and ownership housing, and commit to policies and programs aimed at removing barriers to housing production, addressing racial and economic segregation and disparities in access to resources, providing for the unique housing needs of residents in protected categories, and protecting residents vulnerable to displacement.

San Jose’s 2023-2031 RHNA by Income Level
Very Low Income Low IncomeModerate IncomeAbove Moderate IncomeTotal Allocation
15,0888,68710,71127,71462,200

Source: ABAG Approved Final RHNA Plan: San Francisco Bay Area, 2023-2031 (Dec 2021)


Current Affordable Housing Stock

San Jose 2020 Affordable Housing Inventory
Extremely Low-IncomeVery Low-IncomeLow-IncomeModerate IncomeTotal UnitsAffordable % of Total Housing Stock
2,8329,2526,22297619,2825.7%

SOURCE:  City staff. The percentage of the total housing stock in the community is based on the California Department of Finance’s Table E-5. San Jose’s first-time homebuyer programs (including both those involving a second mortgage and those provided through an inclusionary housing program) have typically included a City first-right-of-refusal clause to buy back an ownership unit at the time of sale, with the intent of assigning that right to another income-qualified buyer. In practice, the City does not exercise that right and, instead, collects an equity-share payment (in addition to repayment of the City loan, if any). Since these units do not have deed-restricted affordability at that point, they are not included in the affordable housing inventory above.

See more information on our affordable housing assets page.

Visit the City of San Jose’s Affordable Rental Housing Finder.

San Jose’s Development Pipeline

The table below summarizes the development activity, as of April 2022,  in San Jose. Overall, San Jose has about 3.5 jobs in the pipeline for each housing unit. While there is no one scientific standard to the ratio of employed residents to housing units, SV@Home recommends a proportion of 1.4 new jobs to new homes.

Approved projects may take years to be completed.  Some, like Google’s proposed development at Diridon Station in San Jose, will take up to a decade to build out. 

Anticipated New Jobs, San Jose Development Pipeline as of April 2022
Pre-Application*Application Submitted Approved Projects Under Construction Total Jobs
Downtown (except Diridon + Google) & N. 1st St. Urban Village10,7364,34232,2106,99754,285
Diridon + Google + The Alameda (East) Urban Village4,7725,31634,3823,92948,399
North San Jose & Alviso8,0005,96717,7592,64231,726
Westside**2692,2303,5142,5978,610
All Other Areas of the City2,0264,36715,46799222,852
Total25,80322,222103,33217,157165,872
Anticipated New Homes, San Jose Development Pipeline as of April 2022
Pre Application*Application SubmittedApproved ProjectsUnder ConstructionTotal
Downtown (except Diridon + Google) & N. 1st St. Urban Village2,2762,4564,52476410,020
Diridon + Google + The Alameda (East) Urban Village3,6431,2395,60233010,814
North San Jose & Alviso8381,480002,318
Westside**8731,9253,5059507,253
Other Areas of the City5,2442,9645,6152,60816,431
Total12,87410,06419,2464,65246,836

*”Pre-Application” means that no application was on file as of January 1, 2022 but the project was in the news.

** “WESTSIDE” includes: all of West Valley west of Highway 17/880; the W. San Carlos St., Race Street Light Rail, South Bascom (North), and Southwest Expressway Urban Villages; and the Midtown Specific Plan area.

Jobs and Residential Development Pipelines as of September 2022 from the City of San Jose: San Jose’s website includes only “major” projects: 50+ dwelling units; 25,000+ square feet for commercial development; and 75,000+ square feet for industrial/office development. San Jose is the only jurisdiction for which the data is broken down into subareas, reflecting the City’s much larger geographical area as compared with other jurisdictions.

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)

All California cities and counties are mandated to permit ADUs and JADUs according to state law. The Legislature further updated ADU and JADU law effective January 1, 2021 to clarify and improve various provisions in order to promote the development of ADUs and junior accessory dwelling units (JADUs). These include allowing ADUs and JADUs to be built concurrently with a single-family dwelling, opening areas where ADUs can be created to include all zoning districts that allow single-family and multifamily uses, modifying fees from utilities such as special districts and water corporations, limited exemptions or reductions in impact fees, and reduced parking requirements. Please see the Accessory Dwelling Unit Handbook (PDF) for more information for local government bodies and homeowners interested in adding an ADU or JADU to their property. Our partner, the Housing Trust of Silicon Valley has kicked-off a major initiative, Small Homes, Big Impact to support ADU development throughout Santa Clara County, including outreach and education, and potential new financing mechanisms.

San Jose ADUs Permitted: 2017 – 2020
2017201820192020Total% of Countywide Total
921874163311,02645.3%

Affordable Housing Policies

Housing Element Policies

The Housing Element of San Jose’s General Plan has a number of policies and programs that encourage affordable housing, including:

  • San Jose allows for significant densities in residential developments – be they market-rate or affordable – especially in designated Urban Villages within proximity to transit or major employment centers.  In many cases, the maximum density is not dictated by the City but rather by the developer due to the costs associated with higher density housing products.
  • Additional policies have sought to support affordable housing development, including: setting a target of 25% affordable housing in all Urban Villages, and some streamlining of the development approval process.
  • Relaxation of parking, set-back and other development standards are allowed to facilitate affordable housing development.

In recent years, San Jose has directed significant energy on spurring housing and affordable housing development, culminating in the adoption of the multi-dimensional Housing Crisis Workplan in 2018. In contrast, the City has strengthened its Employment Lands Policy to preclude any conversions of planned commercial/industrial lands to residential use through either the rezoning or General Plan amendment processes.

Inclusionary Housing

The City of San Jose has an inclusionary housing ordinance (IHO) that requires for-sale residential developments with 10 or more units to designate 15 percent of the total units as affordable to households with restricted incomes, most recently updated on February 23, 2021. Income-restricted units must be affordable at the following levels: 5% at 100% AMI, 5% at 60% AMI, and 5% at 50% AMI OR 10% at 30% AMI. In some cases rental developers may meet their inclusionary requirements by building affordable units in another location – off-site. In these cases, units must be affordable at the following levels: 5% at 80% AMI, 5% at 60% AMI, and 10% at 50% AMI.

Developers may also pay an In-Lieu Fee (see In-Lieu Fees effective May 2021) rather than build homes for sale. Changes in 2021 also restructured the in-lieu fee from a per unit to a per square footage basis, setting the initial fee for rental housing at $43 per square foot and for-sale housing at $25, and establishing an annual fee escalator reflecting the prior year’s construction cost index. Developments with 10 to 19 units may pay half the in lieu fee rate if providing at least 90% of maximum density allowed by the General Plan. The Inclusionary Housing Ordinance Briefing Sheet provides a concise summary of additional key details.

Affordable Housing Impact Fees

The City of San Jose previously had an affordable housing impact fee policy that required rental housing developments with 3 or more units to pay a per square foot impact fee, which was used to fund the creation of affordable housing for low and moderate income households.  This program was absorbed into the Inclusionary Housing Ordinance in 2017.

Measure E

On March 3, 2020, San Jose voters approved Measure E with 53.45% of the vote. Measure E increases the city’s existing Real Estate Property Transfer Tax and only applies to an estimated 5% of all properties in San Jose— those valued at $2 million or more. It is expected that, on average, the tax will raise $50 million a year. While this is a general tax that is deposited into the city’s General Fund, the Council adopted a spending plan that directs 100% of the revenue raised in the first year to affordable housing. Future spending will be determined during the city’s annual budget process.

For additional information, visit the SV@Home Action Fund page.

Commercial Linkage Fees

On Tuesday, September 1st, 2020, the San Jose City Council approved a Commercial Linkage Fee (CLF) Ordinance, joining all of the other major cities in the South Bay that have already adopted fees. CLFs require commercial developers to pay a fee to address the affordable housing needs created by future employees.

While this was most definitely a win for the hundreds of people in the city who have advocated for this measure over the last few years, the adopted fees are the lowest in the county and exclude some types of development. The council acknowledged that the adopted fees were place-holders until another feasibility analysis could be completed in two years. The ordinance is by far the most complicated in the Bay Area.  The fee levels are reported in the table below.

*$3 sf of which the first 40,000 pays no fee – 100,000 sq ft = $1.8 sf, 50,000 sq ft = $0.6 sf.
**Initial payment at COO, following payments at Tenant Occupancy COO as space is leased.

The ordinance will be applied retroactively to all projects approved after September, 2019. The fee level will be set at the rate that is in place when developers receive their building permits, but fees will not be due until construction completion, unless the developer chooses to delay payment as described in the table above. In most cases developers will also have the option of building or purchasing affordable housing instead of paying the fee.

To add to complexity of the discussion, the council directed staff to explore a number of additional policy options and to come back with a new feasibility analysis in two years that considers different fees for projects over one million square feet and a geographic analysis of submarkets similar to that included in the study released in July.

SV@Home is committed to tracking the progress of the ordinance’s implementation, and advocating for significantly higher fees in 2022 if they are reflective of the feasibility analysis.

Housing Preservation

San Jose’s Housing Department has a long standing program to preserve existing income-restricted affordable housing developments that are at-risk of being converted to market-rate apartments.  In addition, the department is developing policies and pursuing opportunities to preserve naturally occurring affordable housing (NOAH), rental housing in the private market that is currently more-affordable to moderate- and lower-income households.

Tenant Protections

In 2016, San Jose updated its Tenant Protection programs to include an Apartment Rent Ordinance (ARO), which caps allowable rent increases at 5% per year; and a Tenant Protection Ordinance (TPO), which includes a rent registry and Just Cause eviction protections.

Other Affordable Housing Programs – Annual Action Plan

The San Jose Housing Department also manages a number of programs with a variety of federal program funds.  These programs — which range from emergency rent vouchers and homeless prevention, to preservation of existing affordable housing and land acquisition for affordable development – are described in the Annual Action Plan.

Additional Resources

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