Google is trying to solve employee housing crisis with modular apartments

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Google’s employees can’t find affordable housing in Silicon Valley, so the company is investing in modular homes that’ll serve as short-term housing for them. The Wall Street Journal reports that Google has ordered 300 units from a startup called Factory OS, which specializes in modular homes. The deal reportedly costs between $25 and $30 million.

Modular homes are completely built in a factory and assembled like puzzle pieces onsite. This method of construction can reduce the cost of construction by 20 to 50 percent, the Journal reports. These apartments can also be put up more quickly to address dire housing needs. In one case the Journal cites, tenants saved $700 a month because of reduced construction costs.

Google is based in Mountain View, California, and already, the company owns nearly all the available office space in North Bayshore. Plus, its own plans for a new, cutting-edge headquarters stalled because of a property dispute with LinkedIn. Needless to say, if offices are hard to find, affordable housing is even more difficult. Reports, year after year, indicate that San Francisco has the highest rent prices in the world.

Earlier this year, CNBC published a piece that detailed the difficulty tech companies have in trying to convince possible employees to move to San Francisco, especially when they live abroad. In response, some startups are establishing offices in other cities, like Chicago and Seattle. The other option is to out-tech the housing crisis, as Google appears to be doing with its modular home investment.

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