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There’s No Place Like Home

Here’s food for thought: Dorothy, in The Wizard of Oz, said it best: There’s no place like home . . . Assuming you can afford one.

Silicon Valley housing costs are back to a tipping point – with 3 of every 4 workers unable to afford the average price of a home. Such is a recent finding from our “Silicon Valley Competitiveness & Innovation Project,” full data released here.

Our region’s unaffordable housing costs are not limited to lower-wage workers. Employees with a STEM-based degree, those in Computer and Mathematical occupations, earn a median salary of $121,000 a year. That makes a rental home possible, but still places more than half of the Silicon Valley’s workforce outside of the range to afford a for-sale home.

Do our high housing costs truly impact our economy? On Tuesday, I met with a Leadership Group member company CEO and he mentioned a recent difficult decision to add jobs in another state rather than here in Silicon Valley, and the biggest factor was the high cost of housing for his workers. On the same day, another top company executive shared a similar story – that due to the high cost of homes, it is less expensive for his company to have many of his employees live in another state. Two different companies, in two different sectors of our economy, with the same suboptimal solution to our high housing costs . . . are deciding to locate employees and jobs in other states.

Long-term, this is not good for the future of Silicon Valley. We need thoughtful solutions for workers to live in the same communities in which they work. Future blog posts will focus on specific ways in which we can ensure that Silicon Valley isn’t just the home of cutting-edge technology; but that it also remains the home of our workers and their families driving that technology.

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