THE HOUSING LURE
fnding the right neighborhood and school district, a perk
that used to be reserved for C-suite executives. “Now we’re
seeing companies trying to push those services down in the
organization,” he says.
HR teams at some organizations—especially medical
and academic institutions—ofer to help staf members
buy homes. San Mateo County Community College was
losing faculty because housing was so expensive, so leaders
at the college arranged for the building of rental proper-
ties on its tax-exempt land and ofered units to faculty at
below-market rates. The catch: Renters are required to put
the money they save into escrow toward a down payment
on a house, Regan says.
In Baltimore, more than 100 employers participate in a
long-standing city program called “Live Near Your Work.”
Businesses and the local government provide funds to work-
Corporate leaders and HR professionals are working with local governments across the country, investing
in cities to improve neighborhoods and make homes more affordable. Here are a few of those efforts.
Median price of starter home:
Cost-of-living index: 92.5*
Major employers: Procter &
Median price of starter
Airlines, Bank of America
The Bay Area is home to a plethora of technology companies,
including Google, Apple and Facebook. A patchwork of cities with
different zoning rules and a limited desire to build, however, has contributed to the short supply and high cost of homes. Since 2010, the
area has averaged about eight jobs created for every new housing
unit, compared to a healthy rate of 1. 5 jobs for each unit, says Matt
Regan, senior vice president of government relations at the Bay Area
Council. Apple recently finished building a new campus, called the
Spaceship, in Cupertino, Calif., but locals complain there isn’t enough
housing in the area for the company’s employees. Google and
Facebook have plans to build
their own developments in
Mountain View and Menlo
Park, Calif., respectively.
This sprawling metropolitan area has attracted more than 70
major companies since 2010. Collin County, north of Dallas, has
been particularly popular, drawing a Toyota manufacturing plant,
Liberty Mutual Insurance, JPMorgan Chase and Amerisource
Bergen, among others. Facebook has built a $1 billion data
center here. “The primary attraction is access to a talented and
deep labor pool,” as well as a fairly low cost of living, says Sally
Bane, executive director of Plano’s economic development
department, which actively promotes the city’s appeal to businesses. The influx of workers has put a strain on housing, though, and
caused a jump in home prices. Home prices in north Texas have risen
nearly 60 percent since 2009.
A group of corporations called the Cincinnati Center
City Development Corp., established in 2003, has
invested heavily in partnership with the municipality to
improve the downtown and surrounding historic neighborhoods, particularly the area called Over-the-Rhine.
It was once considered among the most dangerous
neighborhoods in the country but has since been transformed by new restaurants, shops and apartments primarily for downtown employees.
Median price of starter
Cost-of-living index: 192.9*
Major employers: Apple,