When something goes wrong, the first thing most people want to do is find someone to blame. You’re team loses a big game, it was obviously because the refs blew a bunch of calls. Late to the movies and missed the coming attractions, it wouldn’t have happened if that person in front of you wasn’t driving 10 miles per hour below the speed limit. Rents and home values getting out of hand in many metros, it’s obviously the burgeoning tech industry that is making it harder for everyone else.
But can the collective finger of these cities really be pointed at the tech industry as the root of the affordability issue? The answer is a resounding… kind of. While it is true that areas with a large share of tech workers have tended to see the affordability of their housing take a hit, it isn’t solely a tech industry-specific problem.
As Zillow reports, regardless of the industry, be it tech, finance, or law, anywhere where a large portion of the individuals earn high wages, expensive housing is sure to follow.
For example, while, on average, rents are $430 higher in metros where a large concentration of tech workers live, rents in metros with a large share of high earning, non-tech workers are actually more unaffordable. In these areas, rents are $580 more expensive per month than areas where there are not as many high-earning jobs. Home values follow this same pattern.
Because tech companies are often times hip, highly-visible businesses, they may be unfairly taking a majority of the blame for unaffordable housing, providing a free pass from public scrutiny for other high earning industries.