Tech brought prosperity and a housing crisis to Seattle. Microsoft just stepped forward with $500M and a plan

The tech giant will fund construction for lower-priced homes

National /
Jan.January 17, 2019 09:30 AM

Clippy holding a bunch of money in Seattle (Credit: Unsplash and Pixabay)

Maybe you’ve heard that the tech industry has helped exacerbate a housing affordability crisis across many of the U.S. hottest housing markets. In its own back yard, Microsoft is ready to spend $500 million to fix a growing problem it had a hand in creating.

The move is the largest effort by a tech company to directly address affordable housing and inequality in the areas where the industry is concentrated, the New York Times reported. Microsoft will fund construction for homes that will be attainable for middle- and low-income residents.

The tech giant’s plan comes after Amazon pushed to block a new tax in Seattle that would have forced large businesses to pay a per-employee tax to fund affordable housing and homeless services, the report said. Microsoft, which is based in nearby Redmond, Washington, didn’t take a position on it.

Microsoft began researching the area’s housing after the tax fight last summer — and hired a consultant to determine how to focus its effort. Home prices in the region have nearly doubled in the past eight years while less has been done to address middle-income and low-income housing.

Amazon head Jeff Bezos has has supported homeless service providers through his personal foundation, the report said. And Salesforce chief executive, Marc Benioff, helped fund a proposition in San Francisco to tax businesses to pay for homeless services — which voters approved but Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey opposed.

The debate about the tech industry’s growth exacerbating inequality also cropped up in New York City, after Amazon announced plans for a new campus in Long Island City, but made no pledge to support affordable housing. The company’s move to Queens immediately created increased interest in the area’s condo market — but sparked concerns about the city’s ability to create or preserve affordable housing. [NYT] — Meenal Vamburkar


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Eric Gordon
Eric Gordon on the evolution of the residential data game — and how to stay competitive in the new world
Eric Gordon on the evolution of the residential data game — and how to stay competitive in the new world
Big Tech locations in NYC
MAP: Here’s a look at all the Big Tech locations in NYC
MAP: Here’s a look at all the Big Tech locations in NYC
All Falls Down: Kanye West’s “Star Wars”-themed affordable housing plan hits snag
All Falls Down: Kanye West’s “Star Wars”-themed affordable housing plan hits snag
All Falls Down: Kanye West’s “Star Wars”-themed affordable housing plan hits snag
Illustration of Loews Corporation's Jonathan Tisch and Taubman Centers’ Robert Taubman (Photo Illustration by Steven Dilakian for The Real Deal with Getty Images)
Tisch, other Hamptons billionaires shamed by water authority
Tisch, other Hamptons billionaires shamed by water authority
Corcoran's Tim Davis with 1116 Meadow Lane (Tim Davis Hamptons)
Estate trades for $48M on Meadow Lane — $9M above ask
Estate trades for $48M on Meadow Lane — $9M above ask
Housing, Collapse
Housing starts collapse under inflation, high rates
Housing starts collapse under inflation, high rates
Blend Labs ceo Nima Ghamsari (Illustration by Kevin Cifuentes for The Real Deal with Getty Images, Blend)
Digital mortgage firm Blend loses $478M, sheds more of workforce
Digital mortgage firm Blend loses $478M, sheds more of workforce
(Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal with Getty)
Mortgage demand drops to turn-of-the-century levels
Mortgage demand drops to turn-of-the-century levels
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...