Frequently Asked Questions
Devonshire Downs is a planned residential community in Northridge California, which is being developed by the North Campus Development Corporation (NCDC), on behalf of California State University Northridge (CSUN), in order to provide favorably priced housing options to CSUN faculty and staff. Devonshire Downs was conceived as a positive approach to addressing the impact of highly priced housing on the University's ability to attract and maintain a qualified, diverse faculty and staff.
CSUN is situated in an area where housing is expensive, making it difficult for the University to recruit and retain employees. This is particularly true for nationwide recruitments, such as those for faculty or staff, who could go to an institution in a more affordable location. A neighborhood of faculty and staff near campus will help to foster a sense of community within the University and will more strongly connect the University to the surrounding community.
The Southern California housing market has seen dramatic changes recently and remains highly volatile. The Devonshire Downs project team continuously evaluates developments while moving cautiously toward ground breaking. Market conditions permitting, the first phase of Devonshire Downs will include 152 homes, to be built in several subphases over a period of several years.
Below are responses to some frequently asked questions about the Devonshire Downs project. Information will be updated as work progresses.
1. What type of housing will be available at Devonshire Downs and when will it be available?
Approximately 152 for-sale town homes are being planned for Phase I on approximately 15 of the 30 acres to be developed on the North Campus. The town homes will be two story, with 3-4 bedrooms and ranging in size from 1350 – 1725 square feet, in a thoughtfully planned village environment incorporating the best in Southern California style. The goal is to create a highly livable neighborhood that fosters community and campus spirit.
Phase I will be constructed in smaller sub-phases. Phase 1A will include 48 homes. If market conditions permit, groundbreaking is expected in 2009, with anticipated delivery of the first homes beginning in 2010. The remaining acreage will be developed as future demand and market conditions allow. Future phases will most likely be smaller in size and scope and could include rental units.
2. Where is Devonshire Downs located? How far is it from campus?
Devonshire Downs is located on the CSUN North Campus, on the north side of Lassen Street , between Zelzah and Lindley, across from the main campus. ( View Map.) A bike and pedestrian connection is planned to allow easy access from Devonshire Downs to the main campus. Additionally, the campus shuttle stops at the south end of Devonshire Downs. Residents won't have to drive to work.
3. Why was this site selected?
The North Campus offers many benefits. The property already belongs to CSUN, eliminating the need to purchase land on which to build, which in turn helps to keep home prices down. The property is large enough to accommodate a significant number of housing units. The homes will be within walking distance of the campus core.
4. What amenities will be included at Devonshire Downs?
Approximately three acres have been designated for community amenities. Amenities under consideration either now or in future phases include parks, swimming pools, playing courts, walking paths, tot lots, private dog parks and a community center.
5. Will there be a maintenance fee?
Yes, a monthly fee will be assessed for the ongoing maintenance of common areas and infrastructure (in lieu of homeowner dues). This will cover, among other items, insurance, common area maintenance, exterior maintenance of buildings, parks, pools, landscaping and common area utilities.
6. Will there be a homeowners' association?
There will be no homeowners' association. However, homeowners will have input into community management through a Homeowners' Advisory Council elected by the homeowners.
7. Who is responsible for administration?
NCDC will administer Devonshire Downs.
8. Who may purchase a home in Devonshire Downs ?
The NCDC Board of Directors has approved a priority policy, which lists the various groups and their priority in obtaining Devonshire Downs housing units. The two highest priorities are new faculty recruits and primary retention faculty. (View Priority Policy.)
9. When can my name be put on the wait list?
NCDC does not yet have a formal wait list. NCDC will make an announcement when the wait list is activated. NCDC is currently keeping an informal interest list, and will notify the campus and those on the interest list when NCDC opens the official wait list. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to have your name and contact information included on the interest list.
10. When will the official wait list open?
Most likely sometime in 2010. NCDC is keeping an informal interest list, and will notify those people when NCDC activates the wait list. To have your name and contact information included on the interest list, send an email to email@example.com.
11. What do I have to do to get on the official wait list?
When the wait list is activated, potential buyers will complete a prequalification form (which will be added to this web page at a later date). Once this first step is completed, further instructions will be provided.
12. Who has priority to purchase a home?
The priority policy is available on the Devonshire Downs website – Priority Policy. The system was established to support the University in the recruitment and retention of faculty, staff and management. The two highest priorities are new faculty recruits and primary retention faculty.
13. How do I determine if I qualify financially?
The goal is to price homes at 15% below prices in the surrounding area. It is anticipated that the for-sale housing will be priced to serve those with an annual household income of approximately $70,000 - $110,000. A loan prequalification process will be established through one or more financial institutions.
14. Will special financing be available?
NCDC is working with lending sources to negotiate favorable terms for home buyers, but buyers will not be limited to these sources.
15. Can I buy a home in Devonshire Downs as an investment and rent it to others?
No. Buyers of Devonshire Downs homes must occupy the homes as their principal place of residence. This program is intended to assist CSUN in the recruitment and retention of faculty and staff and is not intended to be a speculative venture for owners.
16. Who should not buy a Devonshire Downs home?
Belonging to the Devonshire Downs community is a lifestyle rather than investment decision. Anyone interested in purchasing real estate with the intention of realizing significant, unlimited investment gains should not buy a Devonshire Downs home. The ground sublease (see #17) limits equity growth by limiting annual appreciation to no more than the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
Click button for current CPI Index:
GROUND SUBLEASE, RESALE CONTROLS
17. What is the ground sublease and how does it work? What are the terms of the ground sublease?
NCDC leases the North Campus land from the California State University (CSU) Trustees. The home buyer then subleases the land from NCDC via a ground sublease. (This arrangement is common in employee for-sale housing communities.) The ground sublease helps contain the cost of a home. A purchaser buys the home, but subleases the land on which it sits.
18. What is included in the ground sublease?
The ground sublease contains the program controls designed to keep Devonshire Downs affordable, available and attractive over time, such as restrictions on buyer eligibility, NCDC right to repurchase, and resale price limitations. It also contains terms typically addressed in ground leases, such as the length of sublease, ground rent and maintenance obligations, as well as miscellaneous protections for the residents and NCDC. The disclosure documentation will include a detailed summary of the ground sublease.
19. What ground rent do homeowners pay under the ground sublease?
Homeowners will pay a modest monthly ground rent for use of the land. The amount is not yet determined. The ground rent will be reasonable to ensure that the full package remains affordable. Ground rent will be subject to adjustment every five years based on changes in the Consumer Price Index-Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers - Los Angeles - All Items. Details on ground rent will be included in the homebuyer disclosure documentation.
20. What controls are there on the resale price of homes?
Resale price controls will be articulated in the ground sublease. The purpose of resale price controls is to keep the homes affordable for future generations of CSUN employees, while allowing homeowners to potentially build some equity.
21. To whom will I be able to sell my Devonshire Downs home when I'm ready to sell?
The ground sublease provides for resale to qualified buyers according to the eligibility/priority policy (View Priority Policy.)
22. Will NCDC help me sell my Devonshire Downs home?
Yes. NCDC will maintain a list of those interested in purchasing a Devonshire Downs home.
23. Are there any fees payable to NCDC upon resale of homes?
NCDC will charge a nominal administrative fee for processing any ground sublease transfer + a sales fee if NCDC locates a buyer for the home and facilitates the sale transaction, as would a real estate broker.
24. Why does NCDC want to limit homeowner appreciation by tying it to the CPI?
By limiting appreciation, homes at Devonshire Downs will continue to be attainably priced for future generations of CSUN faculty and staff. Over time, limited equity growth models such as this have demonstrated a widening gap between the outside housing market and the faculty/staff housing, so that the housing is comparatively more affordable in future years.
25. Does this mean Devonshire Downs is risk free from drops in housing prices?
No. The limit on the resale price of the homes is going to be the lesser of the market value or the original price + accumulated CPI increase. Similar to traditional home ownership, there is the risk of loss if housing prices drop in the future.
26. Is it fair to compare the prices of Devonshire Downs homes to "comparable" homes in the surrounding market area?
Devonshire Downs home prices cannot be compared to the surrounding market area, because the ground sublease restrictions limit equity growth and Devonshire Downs homeowners will not own the ground under their homes.
If a potential buyer can afford to purchase a home in the surrounding area, that option should be considered because of the absence of resale limitations in the open market. Devonshire Downs is intended to provide an opportunity for faculty and staff to become homeowners at attainable prices in a quality community near CSUN.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Check this website regularly; information will be updated as the project moves forward.
Phone: (818) 677-3974
The foregoing is intended as general information about the Devonshire Downs housing program. This site is intended for general reference and informational purposes only. The North Campus Development Corporation does not warrant or make any representation of any kind with respect to information on this site. Information contained herein is subject to change at any time.