Microsoft will make two loans totaling $65 million to local housing groups with the goal of creating more than 1,000 new affordable housing units in the Seattle area, the company announced Thursday.
The company will invest $40 million in an initiative to reduce rents in existing market-rate housing in Bellevue and Kirkland. Developer Stream Real Estate bought three apartment buildings charging market-rate rent and plans to lower rents in 40% of the units to be affordable to people earning less than the area median income. Lower-priced units, according to the developer, go vacant much less frequently than market-rate units, “providing a very stable market niche in economic downturns.”
Microsoft will also loan $25 million to the Washington State Housing Finance Commission (WSHFC) for a program that funds developers’ purchase of land to build affordable housing.
The Redmond software giant made waves last year when it pledged to loan $475 million to developers at below-market rates to spur the creation of more affordable units. At the time, the company also announced it would make $25 million in grants to organizations serving the region’s low-income and homeless residents.
Including the funds in Thursday’s announcement, Microsoft has allocated $195 million of that $500 million commitment. The company has also backed a $250 million line of credit to the WSHFC, boosting the amount of money the agency can make immediately available to developers building affordable-housing projects.