Phase 18 – Harbor

Didn’t attend last week’s lottery, but Carl kindly posted the average prices on my blog so I have updated the graph for the Harbor prices. Notice that they were down very slightly this time from last – I assume that this is because of the larger lot sizes in the previous phase bumping those prices up rather than this phase’s actually going down.

I also updated the master plan to indicate that phase 18 has been sold now.

I noticed some comments on the previous entry including the new excuse for the lottery system (the limit on the number of permits that the city releases). This is as weak as the other excuses, but at least points the finger at an external body thereby deflecting the criticism. Why is it weak? Well, they could still maintain a list of people interested in each floorplan, then rather than the lottery they could simply call the next person on the list for each plan. If you don’t want it, you drop to the bottom of the list for that plan.

44 thoughts on “Phase 18 – Harbor

  1. So … how do they decide the order on this interest list? Another lottery? I think the lottery is the fairest option. I’m sure you disagree, but ask anybody who won the lottery and she will tell you otherwise 🙂

  2. The order on the list is simple: it is the order in which people pre-approve. Remember that you are already on a list before you can even take part in the lottery. That way you get on the list in the order in which you turn up; first come, first served.

    Now, as for people who win the lottery thinking it is fair, I suspect that it is not universally the case. Those who turn up for the first time and win no doubt would agree. Those who registered way back at the beginning but did not win for several months will probably still disagree to some extent.

    The lottery scheme makes sense only in one scenario: less properties than interested parties. The current Bayport plan shows 485 properties IIRC, they didn’t have anywhere close to that number of pre-approved people last time I debated this with them. Hence a simple chronological list would have worked as well as the lottery, but would have been much fairer to those who registered early.

  3. Ah, my friend you forget something 🙂 If they did what you are suggesting then how will the folks on the VIP list ever buy a house? As it currently stands, people working for the city of Alameda and employees of Warmington can bypass the lottery. If all the houses were to be “sold” via a first-come/first served list, then there is no way for VIPs to get on the list after the fact 😉

  4. That’s soooooooo not fair that the local government employees get the VIP treatment! What about those people who pay their salary? So the “Equal Housing Opportunity” concept doesn’t apply in Alameda? I wonder who really owns the land–State/County/City/People? Do the city officers who serve the people of Alameda partially own the Bayport site? I wonder if the city officers were actually involved in approving Warmington to get the development right in Alameda–wouldn’t that be a conflict of interest?

  5. I think the idea of giving extra tickets for each appearance is a great solution for the unfair (Warmington spinsters call it “fair”) lottery system.

    My partner and I got on the interest list almost a year ago (before the model homes were even open), prequalified, entered six lotteries, and never did get a house. We’ve since purchased a new home in Oakland instead.

    BTW, does anyone have an e-mail address for Warmington? There are none listed on their site, and I’d like to start an e-mail campaign.

  6. BTW, every time I hear that irritating Bayport commercial on the radio I turn it off. Just think of what advertising will do to boost attendance at the lotteries. Yikes!

  7. J&C:

    It is all a matter of perspective. Perhaps you find the commerical “irritating” since you weren’t lucky in the raffle draw? 😉

    The raffle is fair (IMHO). We can all suggest different alternatives, but the builder has ever right to do what he/she chooses. We, of course, are free to look elsewhere. But I suspect the interest in this development is simply staggering … not that many new homes being built so close to the city.

  8. Apuntes,

    That was my whole point. Of course hearing the ads is irritating because we haven’t gotten a house. The point was that the lottery is unfair to people who have been waiting for months and months and don’t receive any sort of priority for their commitment. That’s how it’s done at many other new developments.

    I suggest anyone who’s unhappy with the current system should e-mail Warmington. If nothing else, it’ll make them understand (if they don’t already) how people are feeling about the process.

  9. Hey, I did get one of the houses as a VIP, since I work for Catellus. I just happen to get lucky since we sold our interest in the development shortly after and I was able to use this benefit. I have worked there for 6 years and this was the first time I was able to use a benefit other then a few medical bills.

    Personally, I am not sure if the lottery system is good or bad, especially since I didn’t have to go through it. But we were looking at houses out in Pleasanton and Livermore (before I realized I was able to go on the VIP list for Bayport) and they seem to have something similar to the lottery as for a lot of the other new developments in the Bay area. I also have a friend who has been looking in the City for 1 ½ years and has looked at approximately existing 480 places. He put a bid a quite a few of them and keeps getting overbid so who is to say what really works.

    I was reading the Bay Area Crossing for November and they report there are over 600 pre-qualified families to purchase the homes at Bayport. I also saw a few weeks ago were they had a release for 7 houses for a new development in Pleasanton which the house where going for 1.2 to 1.3 millions on a first come first serve basis and people started camping out over a week ahead for the time in the rain to get one of the houses. I personally like the idea of giving a ticket to each person for each time they attend the lottery, but unfortunately I don’t have any influence on this decision.

    I think you get good value for your money at Bayport as it is an exceptional location and Alameda is an exceptional city. If you go on the Catellus Web site you can see what they are planning on building behind in the Retail/Office section of the redevelopment of Alameda Point directly behind Bayport and the College of Alameda. I think it will be a great area once it is complete. Personally I liked some of the other model homes better in developments in Pleasanton, Concord and Livermore, but finding a new house close to the City and for less money (until you start looking at the upgrades – outrageously expensive) is what sold me. Even if I wasn’t on the VIP list I would have tried the lottery, although I may not have lasted as long as a few of you.

    I don’t know when the next release will be but I believe they are sticking with the #’s since the roads are in Block A and they are still working on them at Block D, which means it will be Phase 19 which is the Point.

  10. The Bayport ads can be heard on KCBS (740 AM). I’m not sure what other channels they’re on. There’s also a billboard up just north of the High Street exit on I-880 in Oakland.

  11. Hi Joe:

    Lucky you … I guess you posted earlier as well (Plan 12 in Phase 12?) I looked at the proposed plans and it is very impressive.

    http://catellus.com/Projects_Properties/Development_Groups/commercial.html

    btw, the roads you refer to in Block A are for the multihome constructions “Breakers at Bayport”. This is not part of Warmington homes. More info can be found at: http://www.alamedahousing.com/projects.html

    The next release will likely be on 2/19, for phase 19. Hey, that is easy to remember: 19 on 19 😉

  12. I was there for a meeting today and have an update. The next release is actually phase 19 on 2/26/05. It will be the Point and feature 10 homes, 4 plan 12’s, 3 plan 11’s, and 3 plan 10’s. 2 of the 12’s are the Italian elevation and the others have one of each elevation. They will be at the base of one of the mini-parks, which I personally think is a great location.

    The next release of the Harbor and the Cove are to be held sometime in March.
    Joe

  13. Joe, thanks for the update! Judging from the location, I expect a big attendance at the drawing for Phase 19. btw, what was this meeting that you attended at Bayport today? Was it an openhouse event and if so, did anybody bring up the issue of fairness re: the present lottery scheme?

  14. No, the meeting just had to do with questions on the processs of what to expect as far as the procedure of building the houses. It is funny, no one is concerned about the lottery after you are selected to get a house, but there are a ton of other things…but isn’t that just life in a lot of ways.
    Joe

  15. Can somebody post a note re: the draw tomorrow? I am curious to know how many folks turn out and when the next release will be held.

    John, you still in the running or have you opted out?

  16. We were never really interested in the Pointe (and didn’t even bother pre-approving). Don’t know whether we’ll turn up for any more Cove & Harbor releases.

    We are looking in other places more actively now too – since we’ve wasted 6 months+ on the lotteries with nothing at all to show for it, I’m not that inclined to waste any more time on them.

  17. Hey John, wasn’t the Riveria (Plan 11) one of your four favorites? This is from your first Bayport posting back in July 2004 🙂

    I see that the plan 12 is averaging a cool $1m now … a lottery for mil $ houses? Only in the bay area 😉

  18. Yes, we liked plan 11, but we decided early on that it was probably too large for us (not to mention costing a little more, even back then, than we were really willing to pay).

    I also noticed that the price of the top plan had topped the $1M mark – not least because that puts it off the scale of my little graphs 🙁

  19. Someone asked how many people attended the 2/26 drawing. I think there where about 50 people.

    I don’t like their lottery system either, but don’t give up. I got one of the Pointe this past weekend. Now I have to read about 400 pages of legal documents and disclosures. I wish there was a message about the process after winning the lottery.

    Good luck everyone.

  20. Yes, it would be great if someone who has “won” a lottery (or a VIP) can give us some info on the process after you’ve selected and put a deposit on a house.
    Are the pre-selected options included in the price being force-fed to the buyers? Heck, that’s not an option then…why am I given an extra bedroom when I really wanted a den, or vice versa!
    Or can these pre-selected options be negotiated to some other buyer-picked option?
    BTW, next Cove lottery is 3/19.

  21. Hi. Here’s a brief run-down of the process as we’ve observed (apologies in advance for the long post):

    1) Once you’re selected, you meet with your sales agent within the next week to sign the purchase agreement and give your $25K deposit. Lots of paperwork and it goes pretty fast – you basically read everything at home and call the next day if you have questions.

    Next, you’re given two large books of disclosures and maintenance information, and must sign off on everything in 5 days (give or take).

    You have to choose all of your upgrades, finishes, etc., in 5 stages, the 5th stage being about 3 months after the lottery. You meet with your designer in their San Ramon showroom, and over the course of 2-3 appointments, finalize everything from cabinets, flooring, air conditioning, garage door windows, etc.

    Needless to say, it’s a bit overwhelming. One thing that should be clarified from the outset is that anything that is added to your purchase price from your options (because you’re given the option to put down 25% and finance the rest) is added to your property tax base. This is especially important for first-time homebuyers who are unfamiliar with the process of buying a home. You’re continually advised that you can finance everything (even retroactively apply your deposits to closing costs and finance the amount already deposited), so someone who goes all out and gets $150K in upgrades and puts down only 25% will have a very unwelcome tax bill in the end.

    After you’ve confirmed your upgrades and secured your financing, you wait. and wait. and wait.

    We’re still waiting.

    2) Our understanding (we were picked for a Cove), is that the pre-selected options are included to meet the construction permit deadlines set out by the city. For example, some of the earlier phases included the jetted tub because that is a Stage 2 (or 3?) item, and by the time they held the lottery, they had either passed that stage, or it was coming up far too close for the peop

    As far as changing pre-selected options, or any type of custom-change, it isn’t allowed for large changes. We have an 8, and wanted all of the cabinets in the butlers pantry left out so that we could make it into more of a working office space, but were told that it was a custom change that wasn’t allowed.

    That’s it for my two cents. May you all be participants in this crazy game of homebuying too…

  22. Wow … 50 people for a couple of $1m+ homes. Bayport rocks 🙂

    Congratulations to the lottery “winners”.
    HC, are you in a plan 10? The courtyard in these plans is way too cool.

    I wasn’t too pleased with the force-fed options but I was fortunate enough to get a house in the exact configuration we wanted. So can’t complain!

    The Chateau options are mind-numbing and a way overpriced. We went with many of the standard options and upgraded only a few.

    For the previous poster who wanted to remove some cabinets from the plan 8 … you can always do this after you close and sell the cabinets on craigslist. I think having two kitchens is an overkill (who needs a butler’s pantry?) and Warmington should rethink this option.

    John … hope you haven’t given up and will be there for the next drawing.

    Cheers!

  23. Hey John, will you be updating the graphs sometime? They’re “off the chart” now 😉

  24. I notice that while the prices have increased with every release, the list of options included in the listed price is steadily dropping!

    For instance, the earlier Pointe release had extra fireplaces, 4 (?) french doors, upgraded entry door etc … but the most recent release has none of these, yet the price increased by $30k or so!

  25. Thanks “Waiting to close”. That was very helpful. I’ll be one of those newbie participants but prepping myself to stress it for the next 6 months or until the prices are so far out of my range that I’ll just drop it and settle for somewhere else.

    That’s not right that buyers don’t have the full option to customize their house. That really ticks me off especially since nothing is even built when the houses are sold, not even the foundations! Phase 19 lots are still empty to the ground and were sold this past weekend.
    All this permit, city paperwork stuff is just so insane. Must be a conspiracy between city and Warmington to drive up prices. Hey, it benefits both!

  26. Hello there! Just wanted to comment on the pre-selected options. Our plan came with a 5th bedroom in lieu of the den. We wanted to change it back to a den since we didn’t need another bedroom. We had to pay $200 to request for the change. If they accept the change, they will refund you $100. If they deny the change, they’ll keep the full $200. I don’t understand why we would even need to pay anything since the house wasn’t even built yet. It’s just money in their pockets. Anyway, good luck to all of you who are still in the running. Does anyone know how many houses will be available in the next Cove release? John, thanks for keeping this weblog, it’s great that everyone can make comments and get updated!

  27. We were lucky to buy a Pointe during pre-sale when it was still a phone lottery. My advice to all the new lottery winners.. shop around for the best mortgage rate. Don’t be suckered into using Bayport mortgage. You may receive the $2500 rebate but you may end up paying a higher interest rate.

    My two cents.

  28. Hello folks, great to see so much activity. There have been a few questions for me too, so here’s some quick answers:

    a) I will update the spreadsheet and get new graphs up hopefully this week (it is bad week for me as I have a big deadline at work). As somebody noted, they have also blown through the top of the current graphs, so I will probably rescale all of them so that they match still.

    b) We probably won’t be at the next cove release, mostly because we are already booked up for that weekend which will make it hard to attend – unless they accept proxies 😉 I am not going to change my plans to waste my time at another lottery.

    I have to say, I am also a little hesitant to buy at these prices too. I still have concerns about the prices tumbling. I actually wonder what impact that would have on the Bayport development. Would they stop building? Of course, for those that have already bought I hope that doesn’t happen. Negative equity is not a fun thing – I worked with a few people back home in England who were still paying off mortgages on properties that they’d sold. That would really suck.

    Perhaps we’ll just move away from the bay area to somewhere where we can get a nicer house for what might just cover a down payment here… Might be a less stressful lifestyle too which would be good.

  29. Do you know much about the public school system in the Bayport area? Do you know when the new elementary school will be opened? I love the Bayport area but really hesitating of getting a lottery because Chipman Middle School and Encinal High School are not that good, at least by scores. Thanks for all your comments.

  30. To clarify, the options on plan 10 in presale included 3 french doors and only 1 fire place, jetted tub in the master bedroom.

    Last I heard, the new Chipman school/park is scheduled to open September 2006. Most likely it will be K-5 but is planned for K-8. Call the local school district for more information.

    No one has commented on the new lottery system. Bayport has revised their lottery system to include an extra ticket for buyers who had previously attended a lottery but did not win. What do you all think of this new change?

  31. Passing through:

    Glad to hear that Bayport has revised their lottery scheme. I think they finally listened to the feedback from prospective buyers. I am sure John and his weblog contributed to some extent 😉

    btw, if you look at the options for phase 12, the plan 10 had 4 french doors and 2 fireplaces. So they are cutting down on the standard options but increasing the price regardless.

    – Yet Another PasserBy

  32. JL:

    The Bayport map which John has kindly posted here has 12 houses in the next Cove release (phase 22). What happened to phase 21? Will this be released on 3/19 alongwith phase 22?

    Cheers!

  33. I picked a 12. It should be nice.

    Does anyone have information (such as crime statistics, racial and economical makeup, school ranking…) about the neighborhood right around Bayport? I am able to get aggregate information on the whole city of Alameda, but the breakdown for specific neighborhoods. I heard that the area around Bayport is not as good as the rest of Alameda.

    I am interested in hear what you think. Thanks.

  34. Yet Another PasserBy,

    I’m curious because I have a plan 10, do U know where the 2nd fire place is located? Our 1 fireplace is located in the great room.

    Thanks for the info. in advance.

  35. Yapby:
    I don’t know if phase 21 will be released on 3/19. I’m in the list for Cove so they gave me that date.

  36. Passing through:

    Re: Plan 10, the other fireplace is located in the library. I think only one of the Plan 10s in phase 12 had the library option, the others had a bedroom instead.

    btw, plan 10 is my favorite (esp the configuration as depicted in the model house).

    Cheers!

  37. Looking at the map, it appears that there won’t be another Pointe release for a while! The next Pointe developments are in Phase 36 and phase 19 was just released. So we are atleast 8 months from another Pointe release (assuming 2 releases/month).

  38. Hey we went to the lottery this past Saturday, release 21 and 22. And there was just 2 harbors available, and they both went for over $800,000. There were also 12 coves available. Large crowd.

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