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Microsoft has pledged nearly $500m to provide loans to boost affordable housing in its hometown of Seattle, in what would mark one of the biggest moves by a technology company to deal with a sharp rise in home prices that some have blamed on the sector.

Brad Smith, the company’s president, told The Seattle Times on Wednesday that the sum would be used to provide below-market interest rate loans to help low- and middle-income workers find housing.

The company did not provide a number for how much affordable housing would result from the pledge.

Seattle, which is also home to Amazon, was ranked as “severely unaffordable” by Demographia, the public policy group, in its 2018 housing affordability survey and is classed as less affordable than New York City. The expansion of technology companies in the city has helped push up house prices and caused friction with local residents, a trend that has also hit San Francisco.

FT

 

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