As housing prices continue to soar across the country, corporations tend to take the brunt of the blame. Skyrocketing salaries, particularly in the tech sector are often seen as a primary driver behind astronomical real estate prices in many major American cities.
Today, Microsoft announced to the Seattle Times that it will be contributing $500 million toward loans for low and middle-income consumers looking to purchase a home in the Seattle area. The pledge comes at a time when Microsoft is in the process of multi-billion dollar renovation of it’s Seattle-area world headquarters.
Microsoft’s investment comes only a matter of months after the controversial “head tax” failed to pass in the Seattle City Council. The tax would have required large companies such as Microsoft and Amazon to pay a $275 tax for each employee that sat within Seattle city limits. The funds raised by the head tax were to be used to address the region’s ongoing issues with homelessness and a lack of affordable housing.
Microsoft Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith told the Seattle Times that the idea for the housing investment came from meetings with 18 other prominent Seattle-area businesses. Smith hopes that “tens of thousands of units” will be filled thanks to the massive investment his company is making in the region.
The investment will be broken down into three parts:
$250 million, the largest designation, will be invested as market value loans for the construction of affordable housing. These newly constructed units will target those individuals making up to sixty percent of the region’s median income. For a family of two, this comes out to $48,150.
$225 million is set to be used for real estate loans at a rate below market value. Those hoping to qualify for one of these “Microsoft Housing Loans” will need to be making between $62,000 and $124,000 as a household.
The final $25 million will be invested in services for low-income individuals as well as those experiencing homelessness.