A Bay Area homeownership investment firm is expanding its services to University of Hawaii faculty and staff, according to a news release sent by the university Tuesday.

Landed, a San Francisco start-up whose model is based on a shared equity down payment program, aims to help educators living in high-priced U.S. cities afford to purchase homes so they can become long-term residents in those communities.

The program launched in Honolulu in May for K-12 educators and staff working for the Hawaii Department of Education. Three DOE educators have since bought homes with Landed’s assistance, and more than 600 people have expressed interest online or attended the company’s informational sessions, according to the press release.

Additionally, at least a dozen other K-12 educators have been pre-approved by local lenders and are “actively looking at homes,” Ian Magruder, Landed’s director of partnerships, said in an email.

Ian Magruder from Landed shares how it works to Hawaii teachers gathered at Farrington High School library.
Ian Magruder, Landed’s director of partnerships, speaks at an informational session for DOE employees earlier this year. The program is expanding its reach to UH faculty and staff, the university said Tuesday. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Landed’s expansion into the UH faculty community isn’t completely unexpected: at past informational sessions for DOE employees, representatives fielded questions from the audience on whether the company would ever extend the program to UH staff and suggested it could be a possibility.

“As the cost of housing in Hawaii continues to rise, too many of our faculty and staff are finding it harder to afford homes,” UH President David Lassner said in a statement praising the new partnership.

Landed helps educators buy homes by providing up to half of a down payment on a home, up to $120,000. When the homeowner sells, they repay the amount along with 25% of the investment gain or loss with Landed.

The company, whose earliest investors include the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, has helped more than 200 educators in places like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver and Seattle buy homes under this program since it was founded in 2015, according to a statement.

Landed has scheduled informational sessions for UH faculty and staff on Oahu, Big Island, Maui and Kauai between Oct. 7 and Oct. 11 across the various community colleges and at UH’s flagship Manoa campus.

The UH system employs about 4,600 faculty members and another 2,500 staff members and administrators across its campuses, according to Fall 2018 data. To be eligible for Landed’s program, employees must agree to stay with UH for at least two years, qualify for a primary mortgage with one of the company’s lending partners and use the home as a primary residence, among other criteria.

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