Google pledged US$1 billion over the next 10 years to try and bring down sky-high housing prices in California’s Bay Area.
The tech giant will re-purpose US$750 million of its own land for residential use, allowing the development of at least 15,000 new homes, Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai said in a blog post on Tuesday. Another US$250 million will go to incentives for developers to build at least 5,000 affordable housing units.
The success of Google and other Silicon Valley technology companies has contributed to massive housing cost increases in the San Francisco Bay Area. The firms employ tens of thousands of high-earners who have bought or rented homes, leaving fewer options for less-wealthy residents. Meanwhile, the supply of new houses and apartments has not kept up with demand.
“Our goal is to help communities succeed over the long term, and make sure that everyone has access to opportunity, whether or not they work in tech,” Pichai said.
The Silicon Valley area is the most expensive housing market in the country, with a median existing-home price of US$1.2 million. The San Francisco and Oakland region is second with a US$930,000 median, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Google isn’t the first tech giant to throw money at the housing crisis. Microsoft Corp. said in January it would spend US$500 million to develop affordable housing and alleviate homelessness in its home town of Seattle.