MENLO PARK, Calif. – Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan are using their charity to offer loans to teachers who can’t afford to live near Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park.
The couple’s $45 billion Chan Zuckerberg Initiative spent $5 million to start Landed, a company that will offer loans to teachers who are priced out of the city because Facebook and other tech companies that are driving up housing prices, Tech Crunch reports.
The example for how Landed works assumes teachers can afford an $800,000 “dream home.” That would mean a teacher would need a $160,000 down payment. Landed would contribute $80,000 and the teacher would put in $80,000, and the bank would presumably grant the teacher a loan for $640,000, according to the news site.
The teacher would then be expected to make the massive monthly payment.
“While making housing more accessible will require many approaches, we hope this kind of down payment support will help to make it a little easier for great educators to stay and build successful careers in the region,” Landed CEO Jonathan Asmis wrote on the Landed Blog.
Landed co-founder Alex Lofton seemed to acknowledge that it might not be enough for school employees to overcome the sky-high housing market, which has a median single-family home price of $1.4 million.
“This give people a pathway,” Lofton told The Mercury News. “We totally acknowledge that the other 10 percent they have to bring (to the deal) is still difficult. But it makes it more achievable. It creates hope.”
Redwood City Schools superintendent John Baker thinks it’s a good deal for “educators committed to their students.”
“It’s getting your foot in the door,” he said. “And that’s really important to people who are committed to being educators and committed to their students, and who want to be truly engaged with their students. It’s a real plus — what a wonderful way to have a career and to have a home near the town where you work.”
Of course, Landed makes money off the deals in a couple of ways.
The company doesn’t require educators to make any payments on the debt, but instead “share up to 25 percent of the appreciation (or loss) in the price of the home upon sale, or after 30 years, whichever is sooner,” according to Asmis.
In other words, Landed takes 25 percent of the profits from the sale of the home. If the example teacher’s $800,000 later sold for $900,000, Landed would rake in $105,000, while the teacher’s gain would be $75,000.
Landed is starting with up to $120,000 loans for school employees at Redwood City, Ravenswood City, and Sequoia Union high schools.
The Chan Zuckerburg Initiative posted to Facebook:
“More broadly, our hope is that our partnership with Landed will help create a sustainable model to help make homeownership a reality for more educators and others at risk of getting priced out of the communities they serve.”
Tech Crunch contends Landed “proves why Zuckerburg and Chan decided to make CZI an LLC rather than a traditional charity. Instead of just giving away $5 million, these quasi-loans that can actually generate more money could become an evergreen fund for housing assistance.”
Asmis told the news site he thinks Landed – “a stair-step to ownership – will be a big deal for local schools.
“The amount of money and resources and time that school districts and schools have to put into constantly hiring and rehiring staff, because they’re coming for a few years and then leaving because housing is too expensive, could be spent elsewhere,” he said.