Homes are now for sale through Cal Poly Pomona Foundation, Inc. to assist faculty and staff recruited from out-of-state with housing.
Assistant Director of Real Estate Randy Wallace Jr. said the program began in early 2000 in an effort to recruit professors and other members of faculty from the Midwest. He and the director of real estate Sandra Vaughan-Acton said the university president at the time, Bob H. Suzuki, asked members of the foundation to look into affordable housing for faculty and staff.
Wallace said the results of the investigation led to finding affordable housing with an emphasis placed on helping new hires find a place to stay. Students can’t buy the homes and faculty usually have first dibs on property.
He said the homes are affordable because the property is on a ground leased through the foundation, so homeowners pay a monthly rent to the foundation for land, but buyers will still own the home. Vaughan-Acton and Wallace said there are currently 19 homes within walking distance from school and a 34-unit townhome development in Claremont.
Some homes closer to campus are from the 1940s and 1950s, so Wallace said each home costs about $60,000 to $80,000 to renovate, though he said the foundation tries to salvage as much as possible of the original home. Wallace said the program isn’t common in the CSU system, but it is more common in the UC system.
“We actually modeled our program after UC Irvine,” Wallace said.
Most homes are sold for around $430,000 to $445,000, which Wallace estimates is around 20 to 25 percent below market value.
“We [foundation] don’t really make a profit from this [selling homes],” Wallace said. “It’s more of a recruitment process.”
He said the theme of the program is conservation, so the homes are renovated with LED lights, drought-tolerant yards and some solar panels.
Andrew Tam is graduate from 2014 with a degree in mechanical engineering. He and his girlfriend Kim Nguyen, a 2014 computer science graduate, said they wished the homes could be sold to people affiliated with CPP.
“We both graduated and found steady jobs, so I feel like the next step is to invest in a home,” Tam said.
Wallace said people usually want to buy property at townhome developments because a lot of faculty and staff have kids and want to enroll their kids in the Claremont School District. Wallace said there’s usually a waiting list for the townhomes in Claremont and sometimes a waiting list for the homes in Pomona. The demand for homes “really depends on where parents want to send their kids to school,” Wallace said. He said some faculty who live near campus even ride their bikes to campus to avoid traffic and parking issues.