November 12, 2019

Apple Commits $2.5 Billion to Ease California Housing Crunch

Because the company has been averse to major acquisitions — its biggest ever was paying $3 billion for the headphone maker Beats — Apple has been sending most of the money back to shareholders, which helps lift its stock price. So far, Apple has committed to returning $175 billion to shareholders. At the end of September, Apple had $98 billion left after subtracting its debt.

Since 2005, California has added 308 housing units for every 1,000 new residents, according to the McKinsey Global Institute. In the Bay Area, 676,000 jobs have been added over the past eight years, compared with 176,000 additional housing units.

As a result, the Bay Area has become one of the world’s most expensive housing markets. In June, the National Low Income Housing Coalition said Bay Area counties accounted for five of the six most expensive places to live in the country. In September, California lawmakers approved a statewide rent cap covering millions of tenants.

The number of homeless people has multiplied, with many taking shelter in tent encampments. San Jose recently reported 6,200 homeless people, a 42 percent increase over two years.

The extreme housing prices around Apple’s Cupertino, Calif., headquarters have put a strain on some workers and scared off others. They are one reason Apple has accelerated its expansion elsewhere, including in Austin, Texas, where it is building a $1 billion campus that could eventually accommodate 15,000 workers.

Apple’s new willingness to step in financially to benefit its California neighbors is a marked difference from the days of Steve Jobs, the company co-founder. In 2011, he appeared before the Cupertino City Council to pitch Apple’s sprawling new headquarters, which now houses more than 9,000 workers.

One member posed a question: How would Apple’s 60,000 neighbors in Cupertino benefit?

“We’d like to continue to stay here and pay taxes,” Mr. Jobs said. “If we can’t, we’d have to go somewhere like Mountain View,” a nearby town.

David Yaffe-Bellany contributed reporting.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/04/technology/apple-california-housing-crisis.html?emc=rss&partner=rss

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