Big tech firms have pledged $5 billion for West Coast housing crisis

by Steve Randall07 Nov 2019

The fast-growing technology sector has been a positive for economies and communities in many markets, but there is also a downside.

The big tech firms centered in West Coast markets including Seattle and the Bay Area have created thousands of jobs which have in turn led to rising demand for homes.

But this has come at the expense of lower income families, who are also pressured by other factors in rising housing costs including land use restrictions and government policies.

The tech sector is, however, trying to make amends, by helping to boost the supply of housing. Although this is not pure altruism as the big companies are struggling to attract talent due to the high cost of living.

Apple is the latest of the large firms to make a commitment to help address the housing shortgage, with a $2.5 billion pledge this week adding to the $1 billion each from Facebook and Google. All three are focused on California’s Bay Area.

Microsoft committed $500 million towards affordable housing in Seattle earlier this year.

Helping first-time buyers
Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the company had been in the region long before the name Silicon Valley became synonymous with technology worldwide and it feels a responsibility to ensure that it remains a vibrant, place to live and raise a family.

“Affordable housing means stability and dignity, opportunity and pride. When these things fall out of reach for too many, we know the course we are on is unsustainable, and Apple is committed to being part of the solution.”

The $1 billion that Apple has pledged will help construct new homes and provide assistance with financing and down payments for first-time buyers.

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