We are very far from the local control and local ownership of housing that was the norm 100 years ago. Not that everything was rosy then, but we can see the thorns of our current system. Some are trying some fixes.
Rising rents are forcing some out of the area– some of the very people and businesses that make living in the bay area desirable. Interesting to see different approaches emerging beyond the government’s affordable housing and rent control programs.
The Internet Archive is working on Foundation housing to provide affordable housing to non-profit workers.
Facebook is building employee housing.
Google has a contract with a NASA facility to build housing and more.
Sergey Brin, founder of Google, is apparently quietly providing below-market rents to businesses that his real estate company wants to keep around.
Maybe too soon to say it is a trend, but there are at least those feeling empowered to try to do something about a very real problem. Of course there are downsides to corporately owned housing, but personally, I think getting some more experiments going is important at this point. I would say that most of our housing is “corporate housing” because 70% of houses are mortgaged, so banks really own them. Most banks are now equity-based entities, or the mortgages are resold to distant entities that act that way.
Almost gone are the New Deal savings-and-loans (blown up by deregulation), housing prices now assume someone is getting a 30 year mortgage, the number of credit unions that close (or are forced to close) is 300 per year and only a couple start each year, and the financial crisis howl about too-big-to-fail yielded, well, more consolidation which is at the heard of, well too-big-to-fail.
Lets find fixes to a broken system.