Microsoft pledges USD 500 mn to ease local housing crunch

Microsoft pledged USD 500 million for loans and grants aimed at ramping up construction of affordable housing in the Puget Sound area of Washington state where the U.S technology giant has its home.

"In recent years, our region hasn't built enough housing for the people who live here," Microsoft executives Amy Hood and Brad Smith said in a blog post.

"We are committing USD 500 million as a company to advance affordable housing solutions."

Microsoft was only a few years old when it moved from New Mexico to the Seattle area city of Bellevue in 1979, and now has its headquarters in nearby Redmond.

Since 2011, job growth in the region has been 21 per cent while housing construction growth has trailed at 13 per cent.

A gap in available housing has caused housing prices to nearly double in the past eight years, making the greater Seattle area the sixth most expensive region in the U.S, according to Hood and Smith.

"The gap between job growth and housing growth has been even greater in the suburban cities around Seattle than in Seattle itself," the blog post said.

"This is a big problem. And it's a problem that is continuing to get worse."

The USD 500 million will be used to "help kick-start new solutions" to the housing crisis, according to the executives.

(Agencies)