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Contact: Colin Parent, Executive Director and General Counsel
619-567-6856 | [email protected]

Circulate San Diego publishes “Good Bargain” report on the success of the City of San Diego’s housing bonus program

Today, Circulate San Diego released a new report titled “Good Bargain,” that details the success of the City of San Diego’s innovative Affordable Homes Bonus Program (AHBP) to produce more affordable and market-rate homes.

San Diego’s AHBP provides incentives for developers who choose to build affordable units as a part of their projects. If a building includes up to 15 percent of its base density as affordable, then the developer can build up to 50 percent more units than otherwise would be allowed.

This report “Good Bargain” contains an analysis of 20 months of data under the AHBP, compiled by Circulate San Diego. City data shows that beginning in 2016, the new AHBP is creating substantially more homes than San Diego’s predecessor program including:

  • 490 percent increase annually for the number of projects applying to use the program

  • 551 percent increase annually for the number of deed-restricted affordable homes entitled

  • 356 percent increase annually for combined affordable and market-rate homes entitled

In February 2020, Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez proposed Assembly Bill 2345, to extend San Diego’s AHBP to the rest of California. The bill’s first hearing is scheduled for May 20th at 11:30 AM in Sacramento, and it can be streamed here:

A press conference was held earlier today. A video of the press conference is available for download via Dropbox here.  Speakers at the press conference included:

  • Colin Parent, Executive Director and General Counsel, Circulate San Diego
  • Elyse Lowe, Director of Development Services, City of San Diego
  • Raynard Abalos, Program Manager, Land Development Review, City of San Diego
  • Stephen Russell, Executive Director, San Diego Housing Federation

“Our report ‘Good Bargain’ shows that San Diego’s policy is really working to build more affordable and market-rate homes,” said Colin Parent, Executive Director and General Counsel of Circulate San Diego and a co-author. “State and local governments should look to expand this model to help more people afford to live in California.”

“We are seeing enormous results over time directly correlating with the changed made to San Diego's housing regulations. We are a pro housing City that encourages new growth in our existing communities to provide more affordable housing opportunities for people of all income classes," said Elyse Lowe, Director of Development Services for the City of San Diego.

“The City of San Diego’s enhanced affordable housing density bonus has been a great success. It has helped small infill projects that revitalize our urban neighborhoods become viable. And it has allowed affordable housing developers to get the most efficiency out of their sites and maximize the benefit of scarce public resources,” said Stephen Russell, Executive Director of the San Diego Housing Federation.

The report and appendices can be downloaded here:

About Circulate San Diego

Circulate San Diego is a regional nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing mobility and making the region a better place to move, work, learn and play. Our work focuses on creating great mobility choices, more walkable and bikeable neighborhoods, and land uses that promote sustainable growth. For more information, go to