Will West Village Succeed At Providing Affordable Housing To UC Davis Faculty and Staff?

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There has been much talk about the West Village development providing key faculty and staff housing to employees at UC Davis who are currently unable to live in the city of Davis.  Many argue that UC Davis brings in 1500 housing units, including 475 homes with this project.  But much of that is in the form of student housing, rather than housing for employees of UC Davis.  In the first phase, the number will be just 325 units.

Realtors around Davis have expressed concern about the overall viability of the project describing it as small housing with limited equity that is unlikely to attract existing homeowners.  They pose the question as to whether the project will fail before it even gets underway.

 

In pursuit of answers to these questions, the Vanguard spoke with Nolan Zail, Senior Vice President of the developers for the project, Carmel Partners and Mary Hayakawa, Executive Director of UC Davis’ Real Estate Services.

West Village will use a similar housing model as Aggie Village.

Mary Hayakawa:

“It’s the same formula based model as the Aggie Village.”

According to Real Estate Services Director Ingrid Schmidt of the 37 units at Aggie Village, 22 are currently occupied by faculty, 8 by staff, 4 by the general public, and 3 are currently vacant. 

While some have suggested that Aggie Village was a failure in terms of its ability to provide housing to faculty members, these numbers do not seem to bear that out.

As one poster on the Vanguard complained that as staff members they were dissuaded from putting their names in the pool for housing.  The Vanguard asked about this of Ms. Hayakawa.  She acknowledged that for the Aggie Village the priority was indeed faculty members, but she did not believe that staffers had been dissuaded from applying or utilizing the facility.

Mary Hayakawa:

“The priority for Aggie Village was for Academic Senate members and faculty members but in the beginning they sold–it was pretty equal across the board.  Because we only have 37 units there, in the past several years it has been used to recruit faculty.  A lot of those have been offered to faculty on resale over the last couple of years just because of the scarcity of product.”

She continued:

“It’s not that they’ve been dissuaded it’s just that the campus has used it to achieve other priorities.”

The suggestion is that West Village would work the same way.  In fact, as Ms. Hayakawa pointed out, UC Davis is one of the few campuses that attempt to address housing for staff members at all.

“We struggled with that on the Faculty Housing Committee that put together a faculty housing policy.  We were concerned with that very issue.  Other universities in the system exclusively are for faculty, we’re the only one in the system that really prioritizes staff at all.  So what we’ve done is that we have the pool system, so there’s the Aggie Pool, the Mustang Pool, and the Blue and Gold pool.”

According to the FAQ put out by the university, the Aggie Pool comprises half of the pool and those are exclusively UC Davis employees or employees who own homes in Aggie Village.

“Ladder-rank faculty members who have been recently recruited and staff members who have been recently recruited through national searches.”

The Mustang Pool is about 28 percent and that includes all other faculty and staff.

The Blue and Gold pool are those faculty and staff with the lowest incomes comprising about 22 percent of all the units.

As Ms. Hayakawa explained, the rationale for including existing Aggie Village home owners in the Aggie Pool is that it would free up another unit in their system while allowing people to get a slightly larger home.

“The Aggie pool also includes those who own a home in Aggie Village.  So if you live in Aggie Village and you want to buy a slightly larger home, then you would be in that first pool.  It would still be a lottery but you would still be in that first pool.  The reason for doing that is it would still be freeing up another unit at Aggie Village.”

The key question is how large these units are and how much they will cost.

While these are limited equity homes, the costs are not set in stone and would be determined by the market.

As Nolan Zail told the Vanguard:

“The actual cost will be determined at the time they go to sale depending on the market.”

When pressed for greater levels of precision:

“If you can tell me what the market is going to look like in a couple of years time, I can be more precise with you.  There are price caps that we can’t go beyond and those have been predetermined.  But the actual price will be determined at the time we go to sale.  I think in the press release we give the indication that they’ll be starting around $400,000, but really to be honest the prices will be determined at the time of the sale.”

That $400,000 will be for the smaller homes.

Mr. Zail:

“They’re currently under design and they’re going to range from right about 1300 square feet up to about 2600 square feet.  That’s the range.  Probably most of them will be around 1300 to maybe 1500-1600 square feet.”

So for most of these units, they will be in the 1300 to 1600 square foot range.  And the thing to remember, these are not full equity homes.

Mary Hayakawa:

“It’s actually not a shared equity system, there’s just an appreciation cap.  It’s based on formula, but there’s no shared equity model.”

She continued:

“The re-sale price is based on a formula, based upon a faculty salary index.  For Aggie Village the higher of the CPI and the faculty salary index.  That’s just the formula price.  So if you paid $400,000 for your home and you owned it for so many years, you look at those indices and that would give you the re-sale price.”

For people looking to build equity, this is probably not the route to go.

“They are not considered to be market rate homes.  It’s not for huge investment.  It will be capped to the higher CPI or Faculty Salary Index.  That’s how Aggie Village works.  You don’t have a huge capital appreciation on home ownership for that.  Unless CPI goes crazy.”

Ms. Hayakawa also made it clear to the Vanguard that this is not a low income housing model.

“It wasn’t built up from a low income housing model.  The prices were not set that way.”

Mr. Zail argues that this is a project about the community rather than the square-footage.

“I’m a little bit cautious about equating dollars with square-footage, what you’re really getting at West Village with the single-family homes is more than just square footage.  It’s the quality of space both inside and outside.  And also our amenities and spaces that are associated with the home.  So I think you have to focus on what you get and less on square footage.  You’re getting a quality brand-new three bedroom home with quality spaces is where we focus on more than a square-footage game.”

Brief Commentary

The jury is out on this project.  While they argue that this will be below market rate, it does not appear to be much below market rate if you believe the numbers 1300 square foot homes with limited yards for $400,000.  The kicker there is the limited equity.  For faculty members who wish to live close to campus, this might be enticing, but the realtor I spoke with cautioned that from their experience, a lot of faculty members do not want a small and narrow home with limited yard space, without the prospect of equity.

The project has been billed as a huge addition to housing in Davis, but if we break it down it really might not be that big.  Of the 1500 units that some bill this as, two-thirds of them are simply student housing that still will not bring the university up to par with its counterparts in terms of proportion of student housing offered on campus.  One of the bigger needs the city of Davis has is to open up more student housing to accommodate UC Davis students.  Surveys have shown that UC Davis ranks last in the UC system in terms of on-campus housing.  That has either forced students into rental units within the city or out of the city entirely.  Clearly offering 3000 additional students housing is a good start, but it probably does not even scratch the surface in terms of need, particularly if UC Davis continues to grow.

It is an open question as to whether this sort of limited equity housing can succeed on a broader basis.  Some have suggested that Aggie Village struggled early in its inception and that was just a 37 unit development, this will be ten times larger and built during a tough market.  Will it succeed at providing affordable housing to faculty members and staff in a nice community that people will wish to raise their children and will attact new faculty to UC Davis?  That is the big question at the moment.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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58 thoughts on “Will West Village Succeed At Providing Affordable Housing To UC Davis Faculty and Staff?”

  1. Jamie

    Great informative article….TIMING is everything. Perhaps West Village will be ready for its home owners just at a time when we are embracing the concept of living smaller.

  2. anon

    Oh good, another ‘debate’ in which the terms are not clearly defined. Try the NAHB’s definitions, based on the Feds definitions that distinguish between “affordable” and “workforce” housing. Start there.

  3. SODAite

    Interesting comparison on Aggie Village and West Villsge. I was confused by your title at first. Can you give more stats on Aggie Village, how long avg owner has lived there, how many take advantage of cottage or how many rent which seems more likely given the poor upkeep. Also comparison of sq ft, etc
    and what Aggie Village goes for on resale and does UCD broker a resale?

  4. Nancy

    David: you say $400,000 is affordable for a faculty member. For a newly hired Assistant Professor, married with a child or children AND with, at the very least, graduate school debt, or low-ranked staff-member I doubt this is affordable. Of course, a full- or part-time working wife will, no doubt, help with expenses, pending job availability. What’s wrong with this picture?

  5. David M. Greenwald

    Nancy: Unfortunately, you are just not going to buy a home these days without two incomes. I think that’s a reality we have to acknowledge at this point. At least in California.

  6. Anon

    “Nancy: Unfortunately, you are just not going to buy a home these days without two incomes. I think that’s a reality we have to acknowledge at this point. At least in California.”

    Yes, but as Nancy points out, jobs are scarce right now. It is a whole new world out there, with different dynamics. I suspect nothing is going to be quite the same. Like Don Shor, I don’t think $400,000 is going to turn out to be a viable pricing system for this kind of housing.

    I know if it were me, I’d purchase a nice home in Woodland, Sac, or West Sac perhaps, in which I can build equity and have a nice yard. If my kids go to poorer schools, I do tutoring at home. The chances are my kids will get higher grades at the poorer schools, which will increase their chances of getting into the UC system. Sounds like a win-win to me!

    Only time will tell, but if Aggie Village is any example, I suspect West Village is going to be a tough sell in this market, especially with limited equity building ability and virtually no yard.

  7. Don Shor

    David: “Don: I don’t buy that, you are defining affordability way too narrowly. $400,000 is certainly affordable to a faculty member.”

    We need to use these terms precisely. Affordable housing was defined in the previous thread on this topic with considerable discussion of the parameters. It has specific meaning: 50 – 150% of median is the Wikipedia definition; 80 – 120% of Yolo County median is the City of Davis definition. Please, please, please don’t use some vague definition of affordable based on other criteria.
    WV will not provide affordable housing.

  8. David M. Greenwald

    Don: While this is not and is not intended to be low income housing, it is housing specifically provided by UC Davis to be affordable for its target audience. I have questions as to whether this is the type of housing their audience will ultimately want, but I don’t have questions that their target audience can afford it. Now if you want to reserve the term affordable housing to specifically describe low income housing, then that’s fine, I understand. But understand that’s not what this project is supposed to address.

  9. Don Shor

    David, if West Village is going to count, at least in the minds of our councilmembers, as part of the total housing allotment the city is going to approve, then it is important to assess how it factors into the total provision of affordable housing locally.

    Also, I think it’s important that we all use the same meanings for terms. So when you ask if it will provide affordable housing, the answer is no. If you are asking if it will increase housing opportunities for faculty and staff, it obviously does so by discriminating in home sales.

    Using a quick mortgage calculator, I find that it would take an income of $96,000 to buy a $400K home at 6% interest. I have no idea how all the other factors described in the previous thread apply; no Mello-Roos, no HOA, etc. But if $400K is the starting point for housing in West Village, then the university will be doing a nice job of providing housing for wealthier people moving to Davis.

  10. Don Shor

    David: “Now if you want to reserve the term affordable housing to specifically describe low income housing….”

    No, I want low-income housing to mean what HUD and other agencies define it as. Below 80% AMI is low-income housing.

  11. David M. Greenwald

    Don: I agree with your overall focus, assessing how this fits the overall housing picture that the council must address. I’m going to stop at this point only because I’m working toward a large examination of that, which is not ready.

    However, I would suggest that this provides housing for professors who come to UC Davis with two incomes. Or at least potential housing. I have questions as to whether or not people who make $96,000 want a 1300 square foot home – even the developer implicitly suggested that there would have to be more of a draw than simply the home. What is missing at this point from this discussion is the fact that Davis is not going to get much below this without a severely market inhibited model. And that is fraught with all sorts of other problems. More on this next week hopefully, but I think this is the crux of the dilemma facing Davis and it cannot easily be resolved.

  12. PRED Old Timer

    David,

    That is exactly the point, affordable to faculty! You think they set their pricing policy by chance? The administration is using the word staff to make them sound equitable but in reality it’s just senior staff that is included like the recent police chief hire and deputy directors. There is a clear division between that rank series and actual staff.

    The real staff who have needs that have yet to be addressed are the advising and accounting staff, admin assistants, clerks, facility and library workers, lecturers, mail carriers, reprographics and IET employees, staff researchers, etc. If I could get my hands on the entire dataset SacBee has for UCD, I could illustrate the division in the culture and pay scales and give you charts galore.

    But this is something UCD management doesn’t want anyone to see. The real staffers are an afterthought and have been since the early 90s if not longer. You’d think we’d be used to it by now but it feels like fresh slap in the face each time.

    One thing that also will make a real difference in this project because of the possible financing difficulties for limited equity loans and debt to income ratios are UC seed money loans. Ask Mary if any staffers making below 60k a year will be offered any commensurate assistance? Word of advice – get details and not just a yes or no answer. I once asked someone in Mary’s office about that program and was told it was restricted to senior staff and faculty.

  13. rick entrikin

    Accepting 1,300 square-foot, $400,000-plus residences as “affordable” is a sham by developers & marketers. Post-WWII, my brother and I shared bunk-beds in a 2-bedroom/1-bath home in Illinois. It was cramped, but that’s all our parents could afford (Dad worked in a factory & Mom was an R.N.)

    After Dad died in ’99 I asked Mom the square footage of our old house and she said about 650 square feet. Admittedly, that was many years ago, in a distant place, but I still consider that truly “affordable” housing.

    So why on earth do two or three people now need so much more “space?” And why can’t we find a developer to build truly affordable living units (I’m talking about small units costing about $100,000 – not $400,000)

    I’m convinced we could accomplish this if we just put our minds to it in a concerted community-wide effort. Meanwhile, I believe we should reject all developments that claim $400,000 units as “affordable'” they’re not!

  14. To: Rich

    “Accepting 1,300 square-foot, $400,000-plus residences as “affordable” is a sham by developers & marketers.”

    And what is being proposed at WHR???

  15. affordable housing is a scam

    I agree with that. this whole affordable housing thing is anything by that…my friend got kicked out of her ‘affordable” unit because she couldn’t afford it. How wrong is that? $1015 for a three bedroom seems cheap but cheap to who? If you are part of the underpaid workforce that is vast and wide, it’s anything but cheap….it’s outrageously expensive and takes up more that 50% of one’s pay. How is that affordable. These
    develpmnts get paid loads of money from the govt. to provide these expensive units. this is just an example of how ppl take money from the govt. it’s called the privatization of govt. money. it’s an awful raid on public funds and takes advantage of the poor. disgusting

  16. David M. Greenwald

    If you look closely, I called affordable for a faculty member in a two income household. If you want to live in Davis and buy a home, unless we reinstitute the middle income non-market affordable, what do you think you’re going to pay?

  17. I dont get it???

    FOB (Friends of Bill Ritter) to include Tansey and Patsy Thomas have publicly testified at City Planning and City Council meetings that the Wildhorse Ranch project would provide an “affordable” option for UC Davis staff (as Patsy testified she is) to own a home in Davis, yet the price for a townhome listed in the City Staffing report at WHR was listed at 425,000; now, we have bloggers saying that 400,000 at West Village will not be an affordable option for UC Davis staff (non-faculty) is any else seeing the inherent contradictions in this???

  18. A few things

    Different people are arguing different things on this. So to use that as a claim for contradiction is not accurate.

    Second, as I understand it, the housing at WHR is 350 to 425 for the smaller units.

    Third, WHR is full equity whereas WV is not. That makes a HUGE difference in the equation.

    Fourth, WHR is open to all of the public. WV is not.

  19. TO: I dont get it???

    I found some one who “gets it” and (surprise, surprise…it’s Matt Williams, who blogged the following on a previous thread from the “Dunning v. David” story):

    “If WHR does not make decisions that cause Davis workforce families to step up and buy WHR units, then I will indeed oppose WHR.”

    Thanks Matt for seeing the light on this whole “affordable” argument, I hope that David, Cecilia, and Bill aren’t too upset with your comment

  20. To: Few Things

    “Second, as I understand it, the housing at WHR is 350 to 425 for the smaller units.”

    Please confirm, where are you getting the 350K number? From the Developer?
    According to the City Staffing report (found at City Council webpage, agenda for 7-28-09; the price for townhomes is listed as 425K, there are NO other prices listed).

    Please quote your sources accurately before you accuse others of being “not accurate”

  21. Sue Greenwald

    If Wildhorse Ranch is selling units for under $425,000, then the annual fiscal deficit to the city is much worse than the numbers presented to the council. In that case, the measure should be pulled from the ballot, due to gross misrepresentation.

  22. To Sue

    Why do you keep trying to argue that, Matt has shown you with numbers why the city is wrong, you know the city staff is awful when it come fiscal analysis, and yet when it suits your purposes, you use their numbers even in the face of better numbers (that Navazio even acknowledged).

  23. rick entrikin

    Sorry if I offended anyone on either side of the Wildhorse “Ranch” project. Certainly didn’t mean to do so. My only point was that my “blue-collar” parents did pretty well raising their children in a small house.

    I just don’t understand why people need such large houses and huge price tags today. I guarantee you, if local contractors and land-owners could find a way to work together, they could build environmentally-responsible homes @ a small fraction of today’s “market-rate” houses.

    And let’s be honest. The only reason we’re having any of these “debates” is that land-grabbers (or speculators) bought our ag land at inflated. speculative prices with the hope of making huge profits by reselling the land & building expensive homes.

    And I say it’s time to say NO to those folks. What we really need are small (maybe 650 sq-ft)dwelling units, that are truly affordable to the common person. When a developer comes forward with that type of proposed project, then I’ll shout “Wow.”

    Meanwhile, I have NO sympathy for developers who speculated on our ag land and lost. You gambled, you lost, so, please, just go away.

  24. Sue Greenwald

    “Why do you keep trying to argue that, Matt has shown you with numbers why the city is wrong”.

    In my experience, when staff is, as you call it, “wrong”, they usually err, by my analysis, in the direction that benefits the developer.

    I already gave you my critique of Matt’s analysis in a series of posts the other day.

    I will share with you two major ways in which staffs’ analysis gives the benefit of the doubt to the developer in this project.

    First, staff assumes that both the parks tax and the parcel tax both pass indefinitely. If either is not renewed, the model would show the city running much more seriously in the red than it already does.

    Secondly, the model doesn’t count the real cost of the PERS rate increases as a city cost; rather, the model assumes the 20 year “rate-smoothing” scam, which essentially postpones the increases and creates a huge unfunded liability, which will come due in the future, about the time that our huge unfunded post-retirement employee health liability comes due, which will coincide with a period when our $400,000,000 or half billion or whatever surface water/wastewater/groundwater upgrade costs are at their staggering maximum.

    If the true costs of the PERS rate increases were included in the model, again the project would show a much higher negative for the city.

  25. To Sue

    “In my experience, when staff is, as you call it, “wrong”, they usually err, by my analysis, in the direction that benefits the developer.”

    The problem is they don’t like these developers.

  26. A UCD Faculty Member

    I came to Davis as a starting faculty several years ago, but I still rent in Davis due to the ridiculous housing market even during the current downturn. From my standpoint, $400k home in WV does, in fact, appeal as affordable and potentially attractive.

    It may not have been said explicitly, but it is pretty clear that the main purpose of WV homes are for faculty (not staff) recruitment and retention. It is a common knowledge among the existing faculty that Davis housing market is a real impediment in recruiting good candidates. I have seen a truly excellent senior candidate rejecting our offer after being disappointed by the prospect of owning a home in Davis with the UC salary. The university will use WV as a bargain tool to attract and keep the best faculty, which is understandable considering the huge investment every time that the university makes to hire a new professor (often upwards of $million).

    At the risk of sounding arrogant, staffs are much cheaper to replace compared to faculty. Why should UCD give any priority to staff when professors are priced out to own a house in Davis? Frankly I am unhappy to be put in the same pool as staff for the WV housing lottery.

    I also want the community to remember the huge backlash from some Davis residents that UCD had to endure which eventually led to a significant downsizing of the project. Yet many people here seem to want to push the responsibility of “affordable” and student housing to the university. Do you or do you not want the university to provide housing for the faculty, staff, and students?

  27. Matt Williams

    [quote]
    TO: I don’t get it??? said . . .

    I found some one who “gets it” and (surprise, surprise…it’s Matt Williams, who blogged the following on a previous thread from the “Dunning v. David” story):

    “If WHR does not make decisions that cause Davis workforce families to step up and buy WHR units, then I will indeed oppose WHR.”

    Thanks Matt for seeing the light on this whole “affordable” argument, I hope that David, Cecilia, and Bill aren’t too upset with your comment [/quote]
    Don’t count your chickens before they hatch. As I have said before and I say again, at this point I see lots to like about WHR. It is worlds better than Grande or Chiles Ranch or Verona. However, for me the green attributes are not enough to win me over alone. I have been very straight with the Parlin team on this

    The very first discussion david and I had on WHR revolved around the relative weight each of us put on 1) WHR’s environmental strides and 2) the potential WHR has to address Davis’ Workforce Housing issues. For David it was 1), 2). For me it was 2), 1). I respected his feelings then and I respect his feelings now. I would [u]really[/u] like to see WHR achieve the 90% GHG reduction. Then I would really like to see the City apply that 90% standard to every single unit built in Grande, Chiles Ranch, Verona, and all the other entitled parcels throughout the City. But for me, addressing the Workforce Housing issue comes first. For David the GHG standard comes first. Hopefully, we will both win. If we do the City of Davis will win.

  28. Adam Smith

    To Rick Entrikin

    Developers will build 650 sq ft units if they can sell them, but they can’t. Few people aspire to own houses of 650 sq ft – they can rent apartments that are well appointed and larger.

    Perhaps the energy and water crisis will drive consumer demands to 650 sq ft homes. When consumers demand it, developers will build it. And developers are not going away, because without them, you will not have your precious 650 sq ft, or any other size, housing.

  29. Matt Williams

    Sue, lets the two of us sit down with Mark Siegler, and review the Verona, Grande, Chiles Ranch and WHR numbers. We can factor in your PERS concerns, your parks tax and parcel tax concerns. I believe both of us have infinite respect for Mark’s fiscal prowess. At the end we can publish our findings. Perhaps Mike Webb and Paul Navasio can join us as well.

    Are you game?

  30. Credit where credit is due ...

    [quote]The only reason we’re having any of these “debates” is that land-grabbers (or speculators) bought our ag land at inflated. speculative prices with the hope of making huge profits by reselling the land & building expensive homes.

    And I say it’s time to say NO to those folks. What we really need are small (maybe 650 sq-ft) dwelling units, that are truly affordable to the common person. When a developer comes forward with that type of proposed project, then I’ll shout “Wow.”

    Meanwhile, I have NO sympathy for developers who speculated on our ag land and lost. You gambled, you lost, so, please, just go away.[/quote]Rick: It took courage for you to post this, and you deserve credit for telling like it is!

    It’s pretty obvious that Parlin paid too much for their land, and now they are trying to leverage R&A and the Vanguard to help them capitalize on a bad investment decision. Because they overpaid for the property, Parlin now has to build as many total square feet as they possibly can. WHR is neither sustainable or affordable.

  31. To Adam Smith

    [quote]Developers will build 650 sq ft units if they can sell them, but they can’t.[/quote]I couldn’t disagree more. If this type of product is priced fairly, it would be gone in a heartbeat.

    The cost basis of the Cannery and WHR land is too high to make such development feasible, but there are many other sites that don’t have this problem.

  32. Sue Greenwald

    Matt,

    If the Wildhorse Ranch project had been put on the ballot in June as it should have been, instead of being rammed through to the low-turnout November election where the vote can be bought with a Get Out the Vote drive by developers, I am sure that many of us could have found time to sit down with you and discuss your ideas (two economics professors signed the ballot statement against the project). It would have been interesting. Now, unfortunately, we have precious few days to write ballot arguments and rebuttals. We are all very busy with our own work, and, frankly, the process has put us under unfair time constraints.

    I have read your comments, thought about them, and have given you my own take on them. If you want to send your economic analysis to me in print form, I will go over it. You can try sending you analysis to Mark too, and ask him if he has time to look at it. You can find his e-mail at the Department of Economics at Sac State.

  33. To Matt

    Some additional highlights from the Matt Williams show …

    On 7/28/2009, Matt Williams wrote:[quote]… on the affordable workforce housing issues I will be monitoring the steps they take between now and the day Davis votes. I am not bashful, and if they back away from a clear commitment to Davis’ workforce I won’t quietly fade into the background.[/quote]

    On 8/8/2009, Matt Williams wrote:[quote]Let me take a moment to digress from finances to make a simple statement about this project. At this time I neither support nor oppose the project. The sticking point I have is in the realities of Workforce Housing. In order to support the project I need to see clear evidence that members of the Davis workforce want to, and can, purchase one of the ownership units in an attainable manner. That to me is the key question that needs to be answered between now and the day Davis votes.[/quote]

    On 8/11/2009, Matt Williams wrote:[quote]I may be a modern day Don Quixote, but I plan to go down fighting for Davis’ workforce.[/quote]

    If you now start to hedge and backpedal, were going to have to give you with the “AOW Sycophant-of-the-Month” award.

  34. A major difference between WV and WHR

    From the previous WV thread:[quote]WV is not workforce housing, and doesn’t pretend to be.

    WHR is not workforce housing, and does pretend to be.[/quote]

  35. Matt Williams

    [quote]To Matt said . . .

    If you now start to hedge and backpedal, were going to have to give you with the “AOW Sycophant-of-the-Month” award. [/quote]
    No. Hedges and backpedals are for yards and streets.

  36. Rich Rifkin

    [quote]It is a common knowledge among the existing faculty that Davis housing market is a real impediment in recruiting good candidates. [/quote]I don’t doubt that for a new prof, the housing prices (even since the crash) in Davis seem a bit high. However, is it not the case that UC Davis is competing for faculty with universities in places like La Jolla, Berkeley, Santa Barbara, Irvine, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, west Los Angeles, etc.? Without exception, all of those places (and their surrounding communities) are far more expensive than Davis and our surroundings are.

    I know from my experience at UCSB, UCLA and UCSD, each of those campuses has built below-market housing for new faculty. (When I was a grad student at UCSD, I lived in a very nice apartment in Unversity City which was originally built for faculty recruitment.) I think it’s a reasonable thing to do. I support the concept of West Village (though I’m saddened by the urbanization of that land).

  37. To Pred Old Timer

    The database of UC salary information should be available at Shields Library – you can call or email them or stop by the information desk to ask about it. I believe you can download it onto a thumb drive from a computer in the lower level (government info area).

  38. Commenter

    [quote]However, is it not the case that UC Davis is competing for faculty with universities in places like La Jolla, Berkeley, Santa Barbara, Irvine, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, west Los Angeles, etc.? Without exception, all of those places (and their surrounding communities) are far more expensive than Davis and our surroundings are.[/quote]

    Our department attempted to hire a faculty member from one of these institutions listed above, and that candidate declined because it was more expensive to buy a home in Davis than in the area he/she was coming from.

  39. Andy Fell

    More information about the West Village project, including information for prospective residents, is available at [url]http://westvillage.ucdavis.edu[/url].

  40. Rich Rifkin

    [quote]Our department attempted to hire a faculty member from one of these institutions listed above, and that candidate declined because [i]it was more expensive to buy a home in Davis[/i] than in the area he/she was coming from.[/quote]Are you joking?

    Median sales prices in 2009 ([url]http://www.trulia.com/real_estate/Davis-California/[/url]):
    La Jolla $792,000
    Santa Barbara $663,000
    West Los Angeles $650,000
    San Francisco $640,000
    Irvine $554,500
    Santa Cruz $550,000
    Berkeley $548,000
    [b]Davis $442,000[/b]

  41. Rich Rifkin

    Also, if a UC Davis professor didn’t mind driving 8 miles to work, she could buy a home in Woodland (where the median price is $227,000), Dixon ($254,500) or a little further away in Winters ($152,875) or West Sacramento ($237,468). By contrast, if a prof were to take a job at UCSB or UCI or UCB or UCSF, etc., there are no nearby towns with home prices anywhere near as cheap as you can find in Winters or Woodland. As such, UC Davis should have the least trouble of all the UC communities (listed above) in recruiting faculty due to home prices, here. But if a cheap house was all the prof wants, then she could go to Merced ($110,000), where Winters’ pricing looks like Beverly Hills’.

  42. A UCD Faculty Member

    [quote]I don’t doubt that for a new prof, the housing prices (even since the crash) in Davis seem a bit high. However, is it not the case that UC Davis is competing for faculty with universities in places like La Jolla, Berkeley, Santa Barbara, Irvine, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, west Los Angeles, etc.? Without exception, all of those places (and their surrounding communities) are far more expensive than Davis and our surroundings are.[/quote]

    First of all, UC Davis in competition with research universities all over the country, not just other UCs. As you mentioned, some of the other UC campuses do offer more decent faculty housing options. Besides, faculty candidates don’t make decisions purely based on housing, which has different weight to different people. Sure, La Jolla is too expensive for most UCSD professors, but you would weigh the cost of driving 20-30 min to the outstanding academic environment. The (sad) truth is Davis has to compensate for the somewhat lower academic ranking with the more attractive living environment, which unfortunately has become unaffordable for the most recently hired faculty. As charming as Davis is, what is it worth if you can’t own a house and live in the city? The reality often strikes when the candidates take a tour with a realtor during a negotiation visit. Many outsiders come with the impression that Davis is more affordable compared to SD, LA, SB etc, which often make them unpleasantly surprised. It’s a reality.

    [quote]Also, if a UC Davis professor didn’t mind driving 8 miles to work, she could buy a home in Woodland (where the median price is $227,000), Dixon ($254,500) or a little further away in Winters ($152,875) or West Sacramento ($237,468). By contrast, if a prof were to take a job at UCSB or UCI or UCB or UCSF, etc., there are no nearby towns with home prices anywhere near as cheap as you can find in Winters or Woodland. As such, UC Davis should have the least trouble of all the UC communities (listed above) in recruiting faculty due to home prices, here. But if a cheap house was all the prof wants, then she could go to Merced ($110,000), where Winters’ pricing looks like Beverly Hills’.[/quote]

    Again, we are not just competing against other UCs. Life in California has been a reward in itself for some worth its cost, but with the expensive housing and uncompetitive salaries, the balance is definitely tipping out of the state’s favor. As for me, I don’t want to drive 8 miles to work when I work 10-12 hour days 6-7 days a week, often traveling multiple times a day between home and office, as many junior professors do.

  43. Rich Rifkin

    [quote]Again, we are not just competing against other UCs.[/quote]Because “UC Davis faculty member” you are too much of a wuss to actually use your own name on your post, I don’t know if you are the same person who posted earlier as “Commenter” (perhaps another wimp, or maybe you?), but I was responding to the comment by “Commenter”: “Our department attempted to hire a faculty member from [i]one of these institutions listed above[/i], and that candidate declined because it was more expensive to buy a home in Davis than in the area he/she was coming from.” All of the institutions listed above were other UCs. And without exception, it is much more expensive to buy a house in all of the other communities listed above.

  44. Apples to Apples

    [quote]Median sales prices in 2009:
    La Jolla $792,000
    Santa Barbara $663,000
    West Los Angeles $650,000
    San Francisco $640,000
    Irvine $554,500
    Santa Cruz $550,000
    Berkeley $548,000
    Davis $442,000[/quote]
    Median prices don’t compare apples to apples. It might be the case that the median house is “nicer” in all the other areas and that comparable houses in Davis cost more.

  45. Rich Rifkin

    [quote]Median prices don’t compare apples to apples. It might be the case that the median house is “nicer” in all the other areas and that comparable houses in Davis cost more.[/quote]Total bull feces.

  46. PRED Old Timer

    A friend of mine once said of the city of Davis (pinching a line from Clueless) “Davis is like a Monet. From far away, it’s OK, but up close, it’s a big old mess.”

    [quote] A UCD Faculty member: At the risk of sounding arrogant, staffs are much cheaper to replace compared to faculty. Why should UCD give any priority to staff when professors are priced out to own a house in Davis? Frankly I am unhappy to be put in the same pool as staff for the WV housing lottery. [/quote]

    Thank you for proving my point. This illustrates the undercurrent of competition for resources that is being acerbated by the constriction of housing. It’s not that the employees are competing over a range of housing options which is what you have in a healthy market. There is no inferior good available so the fighting gets dirty.

  47. Most Ludicrous Comment of the Month Nominee Is...

    [quote]Our department attempted to hire a faculty member from one of these (La Jolla, Berkeley, Santa Barbara, Irvine, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, west Los Angeles), institutions listed above, and that candidate declined because it was more expensive to buy a home in Davis than in the area he/she was coming from.–Commenter 12:55 [/quote]!!

    Wait!!! Hold the presses. Commenter just one the most Ludicrous Comment of the Month Award!

  48. Mr Rifkin.....

    If you worked for UCD then you would understand why no one who does uses their real name here…. Its not worth the hassle. You choose to put your name on the line in the newspaper and here for a living. We don’t. I have had my internet opinion come back to haunt me before so I know.

  49. Rich Rifkin

    [quote]If you worked for UCD then you would understand why no one who does uses their real name here….[/quote]Don’t tell me that. Tell it to UC Davis math prof, Greg Kupenberg.

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