The downside to more tech jobs? High home prices

tech jobs

Many U.S. communities create technology corridors designed to attract high-tech jobs – and high-level paychecks – to their metro area because it’s one of the nation’s largest growth industries.

But communities that bring these high-paying jobs to their area are finding that it bids up home prices, which can create other problems, such as pushing lower-income residents out. As more areas hope to become the next Silicon Valley, some community planners are encouraging cities to take action now to make sure they don’t price out other residents.

In a column for the May issue of Wired, Richard Florida, director of cities at the University of Toronto’s Martin Prosperity Institute, writes that San Francisco is an example of how tech jobs have fueled a “New Urban Crisis.”

“Tech workers do well financially and bid up housing prices, which takes a toll on everyone else, especially blue-collar and service workers, who are increasingly priced out,” Florida notes.

Some tech leaders say the soaring prices in the Bay Area will eventually push startups to less pricey areas of the country, such as Austin, Texas, or Omaha, Neb.

Florida, however, urges city planners to loosen up land-use restrictions to increase the amount of housing that can be built to help offset the high costs of home prices in areas already seeing a run-up in appreciation. He also stresses the need for high-speed transit to help improve housing affordability by allowing workers to commute from outlying areas.

“The solution will have to come from local government, local industry, local universities and local people working to move beyond winner-take-all urbanism and to a more sustainable and inclusive model of development that benefits everyone,” Florida notes.

Source: “Tech Made Cities Too Expensive. Here’s How to Fix It,” Wired (April 26, 2017)

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