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New Program Helps Educators Buy Homes

Erika Mahoney
Three Monterey County school districts, including Monterey Peninsula Unified School District, are partnering with Landed, a company that helps educators with down payment assistance.

As home values continue to rise, school teachers and staff struggle to buy homes. To help, a growing number of local school districts are partnering with a company called “Landed”.

The Monterey Peninsula may be a beautiful place to live and work, but recruiting teachers can be difficult.

Monterey Peninsula Superintendent PK Diffenbaugh says new teachers make about $45,000 a year. Meanwhile, according to Zillow, the median home price in Monterey is nearly $800,000.

“A lot of times we recruit and people are really drawn to the vision of the culture we’re creating and then they start running the numbers. We've had people actually accept, formally accept, the offer and then call a week later and say, ‘you know, I can't do it with the housing prices, I can't do it with the cost of childcare. I can't do this’,” Diffenbaugh says.

To help address that problem, the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District is partnering with a company called Landed. It’s based in San Francisco and was founded about three years ago.

Landed helps educators by paying half of their down payment on a home. In exchange, families give Landed 25 percent of the home’s change in value when they sell or exit the agreement.

The company focuses on expensive areas. So far, it’s helped over 100 educators buy homes in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Denver, to name a few.

Last year, Landed partnered with all 10 school districts in Santa Cruz County. Nine educators have bought homes with help from the company there.

Ian Magruder is Director of Business Development at Landed. His mom and sister teach in the Santa Cruz area. 

“Housing has just become so expensive and rents have become so high that it's hard to save fast enough to get the down payment. And so, we find that the biggest barrier to getting into the housing market for a lot of families is just getting the upfront capital,” Magruder says. 

Landed has also started new partnerships with North Monterey County USD and Pacific Grove USD. The company’s down payment support is available to educators who have worked in the three school districts for at least two years. Those interested can apply now at An informational meeting will also take place on Monday, November 26 at 4:30 pm at the MPUSD Services Center on Canyon Del Rey in Monterey.

Monterey Peninsula Superintendent PK Diffenbaugh says Landed is one of several creative solutions to the high cost of living. He says the district is also exploring the possibility of developing its own affordable housing.

Erika joined KAZU in 2016. Her roots in radio began at an early age working for the independent community radio station in her hometown of Boulder, Colorado. After graduating from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in 2012, Erika spent four years working as a television reporter. She’s very happy to be back in public radio and loves living in the Monterey Bay Area.