After several years on the wait list to rent an apartment at College Court Townhomes, a mathematics professor said he still has no idea when he will call the CSUN staff and faculty housing complex home.
‘You can’t beat the location,’ said John Dye who currently lives in a 400 square-foot apartment with his two children in Santa Monica.
Dye said the reasonable rent price also motivated him to join the wait list.
The University Corporation owns 31 two bedroom, plus bonus room, with two and a half bath condos at College Court Townhomes.
Each condo has its own two car garage.
College Court Townhomes is located a short walk from campus.
University Corporation Real Estate Manager Linda Turner said each condo rents for $1665 per month for a maximum of three years.
College Court Townhomes is fully occupied and 55 faculty and staff are on the wait list said Turner.
‘I would estimate that if you are number 55 on the list today, it could take three years before your turn comes up,’ said Turner.
For some faculty and staff, the uncertainty is too much.
‘I got tired of waiting and bought a condo in West Hills,’ said psychology professor Donna Hardy.
CSUN’s faculty and staff who want subsidized housing were delivered another setback last month.
The North Campus Board of Directors (NCBD) voted to suspend construction on Devonshire Downs, a project that would have provided more affordable housing for faculty and staff.
The $60 million 15 acre initial phase of Devonshire Downs was expected to be completed in Fall 2009 but NCBD directors have suspended the development until housing market conditions improve.
Turner said the depression in the housing industry has changed the economics of the project.
‘Construction will move forward when the economy and the real estate market have improved and it’s financially feasible to resume the project,’ said Turner. ‘In other words, when market sales price and the cost of building are back in sync.’
According to real estate analysts at Zillow.com over the past year home prices in Northridge have fallen roughly $120,000. Zillow.com also reports that a four bedroom home in Northridge costs almost double the price of the national average.
Political Science professor Tom Hogen-Esch said that the recent and steep decline in housing prices has removed much of the logic from a decision to purchase faculty and staff housing.
When completed the goal of NCBD is to offer the homes for sale at a lower cost than other homes in the area.
‘The overall cost of the project and the housing market will dictate how much less than comparable homes the Devonshire Downs homes will be,’ said Turner.
The Devonshire Downs housing project was approved in March 2006 by the CSU Board of Trustees and was designed by Steinberg Architects and TGP Landscaping to be built in three phases.
Phase one would have provided nearly 160 two-story townhomes, with either three or four bedrooms ranging from 1300 -1950 square-feet and two car garage parking.
Devonshire Downs will also include three acres of space devoted to recreational use including a swimming pool, central green, parks and a community building.
Faculty and staff will be able to purchase homes at Devonshire Downs but not the ground on which they stand.
‘Homeowners will pay a modest monthly ground rent for the use of the land. The ground rent will be reasonable to ensure that the full package remains attainable,’ said Turner. Homeowners will be able to sell their homes to qualified faculty and staff members but there will be resale price controls.
According to the University Corporation website, ‘The purpose of resale price control is to keep the homes affordable for future generations of CSUN employees, while allowing homeowners to potentially build some equity.’
This stipulation deters some professors from purchasing Devonshire Downs homes. ‘The fact that the university would retain much of the equity in any future increased value of a home makes such a purchase far less enticing,’ said Hogen-Esch.
While Dye agrees with Hogen-Esch he said the location of Devonshire Downs ‘ makes it desirable.
‘It will certainly help to make CSUN more appealing to potential faculty and staff, who are concerned about the high cost of living in the region, especially housing,’ said Turner.
While there is no formal wait list for Devonshire Downs, Turner said there is an interest list with 90 names of faculty and staff.