Nov 6, 2019

Companies experiment with ways to help teachers afford housing

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A number of companies and educational institutions are trying to help teachers afford housing in communities that are dealing with skyrocketing prices that far exceed their paychecks.

Why it matters: Teacher salaries have not kept pace with rising housing costs, and several reports show new teachers are unable to afford rent in at least 50 major U.S. cities.

The big picture: Teachers would have to spend nearly 50% of their paycheck to afford the median price of rent in the U.S. — $1,483 per month — leaving little room for other expenses, according to data from Zillow.

What's happening: Experiments in new financing models and dedicated teacher housing are cropping up in some cities with high housing prices.

  • Microsoft's $500 million housing initiative in the Seattle suburbs is designed in part to assist those in public service jobs like teaching, fire fighting and nursing who can no longer afford to live near their jobs.
  • Landed, a startup in seven major cities including San Francisco, Denver and Washington, D.C., targets teachers by contributing a percentage of the down payment for a home in exchange for a piece of the eventual sale price down the road. It has helped 250 teachers so far.
  • Officials in Miami-Dade County proposed building a middle school with one floor designated as teacher housing, the Miami Herald reports.

In higher education, Stanford University has been leasing homes to its faculty at prices below market rates, KQED reports.

  • NAC, an architecture firm based in Seattle, touts how its campus designs for faculty housing is increasingly becoming a necessity in expensive areas.

Between the lines: Many businesses see investing in teacher housing as a net benefit because nearby school districts with thriving educator bases are valuable recruiting assets.

Meanwhile, several 2020 Democratic candidates have announced support for raising teachers' wages and better classroom resources.

  • Sens. Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders want to give teachers a base pay increase.
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden offered up a plan to compensate teachers for extra work completed outside the classroom, such as mentoring or coaching.
  • Separately, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) introduced legislation that would put $603 million into new teacher salaries to boost the minimum pay to $47,500, the Tampa Bay Times reports. If approved, teacher pay in Florida will be one of the highest in the U.S., the governor's office said.

The bottom line: Even with pay increases, many teachers will still struggle to afford homes in the most expensive cities. The typical new homeowner in California’s largest metro areas must earn many times that of a local teacher’s salary, a Brookings Institution analysis shows.

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Big Tech spends billions to help housing crisis

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser

Four of the world's richest companies are pouring a collective $5 billion into housing on the West Coast, raising an expectation that companies will serve as part financier, part philanthropist as tech hubs try to add more supply to tight housing markets.

Driving the news: Apple this week pledged $2.5 billion to housing initiatives in Silicon Valley, where even high-paid tech workers — let alone teachers, nurses and police officers — are struggling to find houses they can afford.

Go deeperArrowNov 6, 2019

In Seattle, a focused approach to housing

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As tech giants throw billions at Silicon Valley's housing crisis, Seattle leaders and businesses are taking a targeted approach to creating more affordable housing.

Driving the news: Senior Director of Microsoft Philanthropies Jane Broom told Axios in an interview this week that "the probability is high" that the software giant will invest more in housing in its backyard, following an initial $500 million pledge announced in January.

Go deeperArrowNov 13, 2019

Youth stagnation drives lowest rate of U.S. movers in history

Seagulls fly past the skyline of midtown Manhattan as the sun rises behind Hudson Yards and the Empire State Building. Photo: Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

Just 9.8% of Americans moved between 2018 and 2019, per housing data out Wednesday — the lowest percentage since the Census Bureau started keeping track of statistics in 1948, the New York Times first reported.

Why it matters: The data indicates the United States population is "aging, and older people are much less likely to move than younger people. But even younger people are moving less than before," the Times notes.

Go deeperArrowNov 21, 2019