Faculty Input Opportunity: Proposed Replacement of Faculty Home Ownership Program and Policies

In November 2013, UBC sought faculty input regarding refinements to the faculty home ownership component of the UBC Housing Action Plan for its Vancouver Campus .

Description

Housing choice and affordability were identified as important issues for faculty, staff and students at UBC’s Vancouver Campus, through the Vancouver Campus Plan process as well as the Land Use Plan amendment process. In response to this input, the UBC Board of Governors (in 2011) directed that a Housing Action Plan be developed to help address UBC’s future housing needs. 

In September 2012, after a comprehensive public engagement and policy development process, the UBC Board of Governors adopted The University Community on Campus: UBC’s Housing Action Plan. It is UBC’s comprehensive plan containing policies to improve housing affordability and choice on the Vancouver campus for faculty, staff and students. Seven of these policies relate directly to faculty housing needs. The remainder addresses housing issues more specific to students and staff and Plan monitoring in future. One significant component of the Housing Action Plan was a commitment (Policy 1) to develop a new restricted home ownership program for tenured and tenure-track faculty to help UBC compete with peer universities, and recruit the caliber of faculty needed to remain a globally-influential university.

Public Consultation 

The public consultation process was undertaken in 2013 to explore revisions to the proposed Faculty Home Ownership model (whether to replace the Capped Appreciation option with a 2nd Mortgage Loan model) and to seek feedback on the eligibility, allocation and occupancy policies that would guide access to the program. 

Opportunities were provided to faculty members to learn more and provide feedback on these proposals were as follows:

  • Online engagement – November 4th to 17th, 2013
  • Two in-person information sessions – November 12th and 13th, 11:00am - 1:00pm, Graduate Student Society building Ballroom, 6371 Crescent Road

Faculty information sessions provided eligible faculty members an opportunity to learn more about the proposed Restricted Faculty Second Mortgage Loan Program, as well as the proposed eligibility, allocation and repayment policies. Both sessions were identical, and included panel presentations and a questions & answers component.

Summary of Feedback Received Program Type 

The following key themes emerged on the topic of replacing the original Restricted Resale Capped Appreciation Faculty Home Ownership Program with the proposed Restricted Faculty Second Mortgage Loan option:

  • The proposed Second Mortgage Loan option: The concern expressed most frequently was that the proposed Second Mortgage Loan option is too restrictive to on-campus housing purchases.
  • Unit Size: The second most frequently expressed concern was regarding the size of units available for purchase under the Second Mortgage Loan option. 
  • Housing Affordability: Firstly, respondents were concerned that the Restricted Resale Capped Appreciation and proposed Second Mortgage Loan option discounts (both 33%) are not significant enough to make housing on campus affordable, and do not address housing affordability issues for faculty (heard through questionnaires 24 times, and through questions during the information sessions 2 times). Second, respondents expressed concern that the Second Mortgage Loan option would artificially drive up housing prices and create a housing bubble on campus. 

While concerns were expressed that the proposed Second Mortgage Loan option is not an improvement over the existing Restricted Resale Capped Appreciation program, we also heard that the proposed Second Mortgage Loan option is an improvement over the existing Restricted Resale Capped Appreciation program. 

Implementation Rules

The following key themes emerged on the topic of the draft eligibility, allocation and occupancy/repayment policies developed by the Faculty Housing Action Plan Policy Development Committee: Overall, support was expressed for the proposed eligibility, allocation and repayment trigger policies.

Of the concerns raised, the following issues were most prevalent: 

  • Size of Available Units (i.e. need to encourage developers to provide larger units, such as townhouses or 3+ bedroom units) 
  • Lack of Fairness, Equity and Transparency in the proposed policies, notably the sentiment that the policies did not address faculty needs in terms of housing affordability, but rather favoured recruitment and retention priorities.

When respondents were asked whether or not they would apply for the proposed new home ownership option if it was approved, and if they were eligible, 54 respondents said no, 36 respondents were unsure, and 27 respondents said yes.

Next Steps 

Following detailed consultation with faculty members in November of 2013 on the two options and a set of eligibility, allocation and occupancy guidelines for access to these programs, the UBC Board of Governors approved implementation of a 3-year pilot, Faculty Home Ownership Program in February of 2014 that would test both options.  You can find the most recent information on the Faculty Home Ownership Program (FHOP) on this webpage.