SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— Several Bay Area cities are considering a freeze on residential construction except for affordable housing. But at a Bay Area Council forum on the idea, a leading economist said that’s exactly the wrong response to the housing crisis.

There are moratorium proposals in Walnut Creek, Emeryville and San Francisco’s Mission District, where Supervisor David Campos is considering legislation that would pause the building of high-end housing to allow the construction of more affordable homes.

“If you begin to build market-rate housing in that land you are taking away the possibility of actually having an affordable housing project being built in that neighborhood and that’s why this community is saying, ‘Give us a pause so we can understand what this solution is,’” Campos said.

But Chris Thornberg of Beacon Economics spoke at the forum and said building homes for all the wealthy people who want to live here will choke the housing supply even more and they won’t go away they’ll just buy lower-end properties and squeeze out the people who live there now.

“You have to meet that population’s need. If you don’t meet it sufficiently, gentrification occurs. If you don’t meet it at all, it becomes even faster. Ultimately if you have the money and you want to live in San Francisco, you will figure out a way to live in San Francisco,” Thornberg said.

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