Creation of New Housing

Housing production in Marin County has generally been restricted or difficult to achieve for most housing types due to a number of factors, including stringent zoning and land use policies that restrict density, as well as community opposition. As a result, affordable housing opportunities in Marin are limited and all housing types are in short supply countywide. The lack of housing options continue to contribute to a growing displacement of the County's most vulnerable populations.

Marin Housing Facts

Marin ranks among the tightest housing markets in the Bay Area. 
Data from the 2021 U.S. Census American Community Survey illustrates Marin's homeowner vacancy rate at 0.4% and rental vacancy rate at 2.3%. Of the 9 Bay Area counties, Marin holds the lowest rental and homeowner vacancy rates, which further exacerbate the difficulty in accessing housing, and especially affordable housing.
Housing costs remain prohibitive for many workers who wish to live and work in the same Marin community. 
The lower inventory of available housing contributes to increased pricing of the limited housing stock. The 2020 Marin County Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice illustrates that an annual household income of $220,000 is needed to afford the median home sales price of $1,046,450 in Marin with conventional financing. As a renter, an annual household income of $130,000 is needed to afford the median rent of an apartment of $3,268/month.
Data from the U.S. Census Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics demonstrates that 62% of Marin County workers live outside of the County and commute to work.

Affordable Housing Production

The development of affordable housing is necessary to address the increasing inaccessibility of living in Marin County.
Cities and counties throughout the State of California must plan for affordable housing through the Housing Element process. This Plan requires each jurisdiction to report the number of affordable units being produced against a goal set by the Housing and Community Development (HCD) Department of California, also called the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA). This cycle runs every eight years.
Many houses on a beautiful Marin County hillside
Our current cycle runs from January 2023 to January 2031 (6th cycle). Housing must be produced at the following income levels, related to the region's median income. In 2024, a household of four earning $156,650 annually or less in Marin County is considered low-income and would qualify for most affordable housing.
  • Very-low income (30-50% of the area median income)
  • Low-income (50-80% of the area median income)
  • Moderate-income (80-120% of the area median income)
  • Above moderate-income (120% and above the area median income)

Unincorporated Marin's Progress (2023-2031)

Below, you will find performance measures related to the number of housing units produced at each income level, against the housing goal for that income level set by HCD for the unincorporated regions of the County. The County's total RHNA goal in the 6th Housing Element cycle is 3,569 units, including:
  • 1,100 units for households earning a very-low income and below
  • 634 units for households earning a low-income
  • 512 units for households earning a moderate-income
  • 1,323 units for households earning an above-moderate income and above
The graph below shows that the production of very-low income units in 2023 is below our annual target to keep momentum and meet the overall goal in this category.
The graph below shows that the production of low-income units in 2023 is a bit below our annual target to keep momentum and meet the overall goal in this category.
The graph below shows that the production of moderate-income units in 2023 is below our annual target to keep momentum and meet the overall goal in this category.
The graph below shows that the production of above moderate-income units in 2023 is below our annual target to keep momentum and meet the overall goal in this category.

6th Cycle Units Produced by Income Level

The graph to the left indicates the number of units produced by income category in 2023 against the final goals for the 6th cycle RHNA.
For very-low income units, 43 units have been produced against the goal of 1,100. For low-income units, 19 units against the 512 goal. For moderate-income units, 60 units in comparison to the goal of 623. For above-moderate units, 37 units have been produced against the 1,323 goal. To view the progress of all California jurisdictions, visit the State's Data Dashboard.

Previous Cycle (2015-2022)

Learn more about new housing produced in the previous Housing Element cycle (2015-2022).

For more information, visit www.marincounty.org/housing