About Measure E & Ongoing Work to Make San Jose Housing Affordable
San Jose is now the most expensive city in America to buy a home, and the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment is more than double the national average. The high cost of housing has made it difficult for working families—teachers, firefighters, nurses, mechanics, bus drivers—to afford to call our city home. Not only are our friends and neighbors being forced to move away from our city, but the city’s homeless population increased 40 percent just since 2017.
San Jose leaders have embraced innovative solutions to our housing crisis, including accessory dwelling units or backyard homes, public-private partnerships, and utilizing city-owned land to house homeless residents. But we need to do even more to help make San Jose affordable again.
Measure E represents a common-sense solution supported by a broad coalition of neighbors, community groups and housing experts. Measure E will help support investments to provide affordable housing for veterans, seniors, teachers and first responders, will help fund more innovative housing solutions like more housing options near existing transit, and will help support services to transition the homeless off the streets and into housing.
Measure E is a transfer tax on luxury homes and commercial properties valued over $2 million. That means Measure E will only apply when these expensive properties are sold, frequently at a significant profit. Measure E affects only the top two percent of the most valuable properties in San Jose.
San Jose’s current transfer tax rate of $3.30 is significantly lower than San Francisco’s rates of $5-30 and Oakland’s $10-$25 rates. After Measure E passes, San Jose will still have the lowest transfer tax rates of any major city in the Bay Area.
On December 10, 2019, the San Jose City Council passed an initial spending plan that would allocate funding:
- 45 percent for extremely low income households (below 30% of area median income)
- 35 percent for very low income (VLI) and low income (LI) households (30-80% of AMI)
- About 10 percent for moderate-income households (80-120% of AMI) and below-market rate housing
- 10 percent for homeless prevention activities
Any changes to the spending plan would require 60-days’ notice for a public hearing and a 2/3 Council vote.