Pacific Highland Ranch vs. 4S Ranch

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Submitted by 4slive on February 5, 2012 - 11:05pm

I stopped by PHR this afternoon and took a tour for brightwater model home. Here is my impression between PHR and 4S.

1. Mello Roos: both are ridiculous high, but PHR is even higher, the brightwater plan2 (29xx sqf.) annual MR is $54xx, while the same square footage house in 4S is $45xx I believe. Another difference is 4S builder can help buyer pay off MR in escrow while Pardee doesn't want to do so, they want the home owner to pay MR forever!

2. HOA: PHR has compulsory $89 to use recreation center regardless if you do need it or not. Besides that, PHR has $124 HOA compared to $85 HOA in 4S. So the total HOA paid in PHR is $213/month vs. $85/month in 4S.

3. Park: there are many neighborhood parks around 4S, conveniently accessed by home owners, but there is NONE in PHR. Although a land reserved for park, but not buildup date, not sure why PHR collects so much HOA?

4. Elementary School: conveniently acess the elementary school is important for the young kids, but there is NONE in PHR now, while 4S has two opened;

5. Traffic: the 56 east traffic bottleneck ranked No. 6 in San Diego County (http://media.utsandiego.com/news/documen...), while the 4S doesn't have any traffic bottleneck on I-15. I would agree the PHR is closer to employment center like sorrental valley, but overall commute time probably is no much difference, or at most 10 minutes or so.

6. Shopping: there is NO shopping center close by PHR, actually pardee promised to build town center for years, but never grounded up. This is quite different from 4S Master designed community, the town center, school, parks are built before the majority of residents moved in.

7. Schools: of course, most of the people by PHR is because the better school especially the high school. This is I agree PHR is better than 4S.

8. Weather: the sale agent asked me if I like the coastal weather more, I told her as soon as living in San Diego, I don't care the slight difference. Actually along I-15, I feel cooler in Summer night and warmer in Winter day.

9. Lot: the brightwater lot size is ~5200 sq.ft., houses are built so cramped and no privacy in backyard at all. While the willow @4S lot size is ~10000 sq.ft., pretty decent for SFH.

10. Price: both PHR and 4S have high MR. the brightwater plan 3 is 3432 sq.ft tagged from $882K, the willow plan 1 is 3345 sq.ft. tagged from $710K.

Summary: For commute and weather, probably PHR is slightly better or tie; For MR, HOA, lot, shopping, park, elementary school, 4S is better or much better than PHR. The school is the major motivation for people buying PHR vs. 4S, but does that worth the price premium?

Submitted by paranoid on February 6, 2012 - 6:45pm.

why do you think PHR has better schools than 4S?

Submitted by 4slive on February 6, 2012 - 8:43pm.
Submitted by earlyretirement on February 19, 2012 - 7:49pm.

We looked at a few houses in PHR as well last year. They had some nice houses but to be honest, for the most part, the houses were piled on top of one another with NO privacy at all. Yeah, there were a few streets that weren't as bad or corner lot houses that were better. But MANY houses had absolutely NO privacy at all with some as many as 5 houses immediately looking into the tiny back yards.

Schools: The schools are great in both locations. I wouldn't get too caught up in API scores to judge school districts. I think most parents would agree both school districts are great relatively speaking compared to other districts in San Diego.

Mello Roos: I agree Mello Roos sucks no matter which area you're in. We bought in nearby Santaluz and it's not fun paying $5,500+ a year in Mello Roos taxes. However, I feel like once you bite the bullet to live in a MR area, there isn't much you can do about it. You can complain but who will listen??

Parks: I agree with the lack of parks in the PHR area. Yeah, 4SR was better but we didn't find anything to write home about in way of parks in 4S Ranch. But yes, if this is important 4S Ranch has the nod here.

Weather: We were renting a townhouse in Carmel Valley while we were waiting to move into our house. I found the difference in weather VERY negligible between Carmel Valley and the Santaluz area. Maybe a slight difference. However, we noticed the biggest difference once we passed I-15 but the difference is very little between the PHR area and where we live. But past I-15 for some reason it can drastically vary. For example a few weeks ago, I was meeting a friend for lunch. My car said it was 71 degrees at Santaluz but when I went to lunch at Brigintine's in Poway it was 79 degrees!

Lot sizes: I totally agree PHR had super tiny lots for the most part. I'm not one of these people that need some huge yard. For us, an 8,000 sq. foot lot is plenty for us. To us, it's not so much lot size but the way it's utilized to provide privacy from neighbors and much of PHR was horrible.

Shopping: This wasn't too high on the priority list for us at all. True PHR doesn't have anything really to speak of in the area. However, although we don't live too far from the 4S Ranch town center area ...we've almost never been to that shopping area. I don't think in the grand scheme of things shopping is too great there relatively speaking either.

I think both general areas are really great compared to many other areas. Most people that choose to live in the area are doing so I think for school district reasons.

We really LOVE living in the area. The quality of life is excellent for us. We couldn't be more pleased with the area, the schools and just general high quality of life conditions.

To answer your question, I didn't find the premium worth it price per sq. foot for PHR vs. other areas. In fact, quite the opposite. I couldn't understand the desire for many people to pay so much for those houses.

Submitted by 4slive on February 20, 2012 - 1:08am.

earlyretirement wrote:
We bought in nearby Santaluz and it's not fun paying $5,500+ a year in Mello Roos taxes. .

The entire 92127 zip code is high MR area, so I have confidence that the schools will be well supported by MR money, so the school will be better and better although they are new now. One fundenmental reason for good schools in 92130 is the high property tax and thus good funding to schools.

Wrt. $5,500 MR/year. Have you considered to pay it off? I guess the pre-payment amound is ~$60K. If you want to stay in the home for > 5 years, then it might be a wise decision.

Submitted by earlyretirement on February 20, 2012 - 11:59am.

I agree most of 92127 zip code has higher MR taxes. I'm reasonably confident the schools in this school district will continue to do well over the long-term.

I might consider paying off the MR taxes. We will definitely be in the home for the long haul. Our kids are young and we plan to live in the house until they finish high school. Our youngest is 2 years old so needless to say we have a long while to go!

I don't feel too much pressure on the MR fees. I think most buying in this area aren't broken one way or the other by MR fees. Yes, it sucks paying it but it's not going to make or break me. I personally feel it's still worth paying the MR fees to live where we do. Others may disagree. I think it's a very personal decision.

Someone PM'ed me a while ago that was looking in the Santaluz development that they called to check on the pay off amounts for the Mello Roos taxes.

I hope they don't mind I'm posting it below as I find it's very educational and will benefit others. (Here is what they wrote below in quotes between the lines).

_________________________________________

"The other thing is I just called and talked directly with the city tax assessors and companies managing the mello roos. FYI, the CFD#2 which is the main one is on a 30 years bond which started in 2000 and ends 2030.

To calculate the pay off amount on your property will cost $500. The CFD#4 which is the Poway Unified is on a 40 years bond. They charge $100 to calculate the pay off amount, but will deduct it from your actual pay off if you choose to do so.

Since you are planning to live there for a while, you may want to consider paying off the CFD#2. Here are their numbers if you are interested in the actual calculation for your parcel.

CFD #2: 949.955.1500
CFD#4: 877.250.1503 or direct 949.250.8300

(picked up # when they called me back.)
I did the math, it's worth while to pay off the CFD#2 but not #4. But of course you can do your own calculations."

_______________________________________

I have been busy so I haven't bothered yet to do this. Plus wasn't excited about paying $500 to get the pay-off amount. But I will probably end up doing this as we plan to be in the house for the long haul.

Submitted by 4slive on February 20, 2012 - 12:57pm.

earlyretirement wrote:
I have been busy so I haven't bothered yet to do this. Plus wasn't excited about paying $500 to get the pay-off amount. But I will probably end up doing this as we plan to be in the house for the long haul.

Here are the pros I summarized to pay off MR, just my 2 cents:
1) With such low 30-year fixed mortgate interest rate (~4%), it becomes more and more reasonable to pay off MR because MR annual payment is equvilent to 8-9% interest rate. In another words, borrowing some cheap money to pay off high cost MR is financially wise now;
2) The mortgage rate is locked for no change in 30 years while MR payment will be going up 2% (?) every year for 30-40 year. So given same amount of principle, the lifetime payment for MR is much more than mortgate payment;
3) Theoretically MR is not tax deductible, even it's gray area on tax return now, but with many high income families in 92127, the AMT will kill the tax deductible advantage of MR;

Submitted by DaCounselor on February 20, 2012 - 1:51pm.

PHR is a good example of dangers associated with being an early settlor in a planned community. Eight years or so from the first homes going up and still no parks, no shopping and no schools? Eight years!

I think they are getting closer to putting a shopping center up on the corner of DM Heights Rd and CV Rd, but I understand there is still some serious debate on the subject. Nothing is coming easy for PHR...

I doubt there will ever be any new housing stock on decent lot sizes in PHR as the entire concept is for a pedestrian friendly community with small lots and a villagey feel.

I would much prefer the older housing stock in CV than PHR for about the same price. Way too many question marks in PHR's future. They may ultimately get everything figured out and built out, but by that time the early settlors' kids will be off to college...It may end up fulfilling its promise but if and when is the question and you really won't know how the area will feel until it's built out.

Submitted by mp7444 on February 20, 2012 - 4:29pm.

4slive wrote:
because MR annual payment is equvilent to 8-9% interest rate.

Could you shed some lights on how to is this number calculated?

I'm thinking about paying off the MR as well. MR & property tax together are like 1k/mo. :/

Submitted by 4slive on February 20, 2012 - 4:48pm.

mp7444 wrote:
4slive wrote:
because MR annual payment is equvilent to 8-9% interest rate.

Could you shed some lights on how to is this number calculated?

I'm thinking about paying off the MR as well. MR & property tax together are like 1k/mo. :/

Contact PUSD or county to get your MR pay off amount, assume it's the principle, then plug in the number to 30-year fixed mortgage calculator, you should be able to figure out the equivelant interest rate for same monthly payment. To give you some ideas, the MR pay off amount is usually 10 times of your annual payment.

Submitted by 4slive on February 20, 2012 - 5:11pm.

DaCounselor wrote:
PHR is a good example of dangers associated with being an early settlor in a planned community. Eight years or so from the first homes going up and still no parks, no shopping and no schools? Eight years!

I think they are getting closer to putting a shopping center up on the corner of DM Heights Rd and CV Rd, but I understand there is still some serious debate on the subject. Nothing is coming easy for PHR...

I doubt there will ever be any new housing stock on decent lot sizes in PHR as the entire concept is for a pedestrian friendly community with small lots and a villagey feel.

I would much prefer the older housing stock in CV than PHR for about the same price. Way too many question marks in PHR's future. They may ultimately get everything figured out and built out, but by that time the early settlors' kids will be off to college...It may end up fulfilling its promise but if and when is the question and you really won't know how the area will feel until it's built out.

Is that because Pardee home too greedy? Just want to build home to generate revenue instead of rewarding the community for parks, schools and shopping center.

Submitted by mp7444 on February 20, 2012 - 4:59pm.

4slive wrote:
Contact PUSD or county to get your MR pay off amount, assume it's the principle, then plug in the number to 30-year fixed mortgage calculator, you should be able to figure out the equivelant interest rate for same monthly payment. To give you some ideas, the MR pay off amount is usually 10 times of your annual payment.

thanks 4slive.

Submitted by enron_by_the_sea on February 29, 2012 - 11:55pm.

Update on PHR facilities.

http://www.delmartimes.net/2012/02/29/ca...

Quote:

Board member Manjeet Ranu, who represents PHR, said, “This will allow us to get things that make a community a real community and help surrounding communities by not burdening their facilities.”

Frank January, from the city of San Diego, said the transportation and phasing plan includes all of the population-based facilities funded by Facilities Benefit Assessments (FBA) paid by homeowners. These include the neighborhood and community parks, the library, trail systems and a community pool in Black Mountain Ranch.

The phasing plan includes threshold requirements.

“Within the thresholds, development cannot proceed until those facilities are provided,” January said.

That means no more new houses until there are appropriate amenities for the residents that currently live there. January also said the amended financing plan aims to minimize delays as much as possible.

Gonzalez Canyon Neighborhood Park will be the first to be designed and delivered as PHR reaches its first threshold of 1,900 units. January said they have a signed agreement from Pardee Homes as of last week to move forward with reimbursements to design and build that park.

Submitted by DaCounselor on March 1, 2012 - 10:49am.

Good find enron, thanks. I wonder if they will build that park if the City won't commit to maintenance after the first two years of Pardee's maintenance are over.

The revised plan also extends the development period by 14 years, to 2035. Not surprising given the circumstances but wow, what a difference than what was initially anticipated. I hope for the sake of the people in PHR as well as the neighboring areas they get things figured out over there, but excuse me if I am not optimistic of any quick improvements to the situation. Too bad.

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