The success of Google and other Silicon Valley technology companies has led to a sharp rise in house prices in the San Francisco Bay Area. These companies employ tens of thousands of high-income people who have already purchased or rented homes, leaving fewer and fewer choices for low- and middle-income residents. At the same time, the supply of new homes and apartments cannot keep up with demand. Silicon Valley is the highest-priced area in the United States, with a median house price of $1.2 million.
At the time of the announcement, technology companies, especially Google and its parent company, Alphabet, are facing increasing pressure from local communities claiming that their expansion has encroached on the already tight real estate market in the San Francisco Bay Area. And cause long-term residents to be displaced. The move could also be to preemptively block the protests scheduled for Wednesday, as some activists expressed concern about Google’s impact on housing prices and local communities.
"Our goal is to help the community achieve long-term success and ensure that everyone has an opportunity, whether or not they work in the technology industry," said Pichai. He pointed out that only 3,000 homes were built in the Nanwan District last year.
Destination: Home's chief influence officer Ray Bramson said that Google's financial commitment is significant, but it requires more companies and organizations to participate and truly change the housing affordability of the San Francisco Bay Area.
Bramson said there are currently more than 35,000 affordable housing shortages in Santa Clara County, home to San Jose, Mountain View and Palo Alto. He added that there is still a need to improve infrastructure to cope with population growth. “Our community faces enormous challenges,” he said. “It will take a lot of work.”
Issi Romem, Zillow's senior director of housing and urban economy, said Google's efforts to build housing supplies in the region should be praised. However, he said that using the company's land for housing may not be a scalable solution.
“No one knows for sure how many homes need to be built in the San Francisco Bay Area to make house prices grow slower or flatter,” said Roman. “But what we know is that this is a very large number,” maybe “in the future.” Millions of homes will be needed in a decade."
One of the challenges Google faces will be to persuade local towns to support the re-planning of land for housing. Margaret O ‘Mara, a professor of history at the University of Washington, said that due to a measure introduced in 1978 that restricted property tax increases, municipalities typically earned more from commercial development than residential.
Google is not the first tech giant to save money in a real estate crisis.MicrosoftThe company said in January that it would spend $500 million to develop affordable housing in the Seattle area near its headquarters to ease housing prices.
The philanthropy initiated by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, also supports the housing shortage in the San Francisco Bay Area.