September 05, 2005
From renters to owners
Buying incentives sweeten deals as privatized housing hits market
By Karen Jowers
Times staff writer
In July, Chief Gunner’s Mate Jack Day and his wife bought their first house — the home they had been renting in their Navy privatized housing community in Everett, Wash.
“The market growth is good out here, and we like the school district,” Day said. Even sweeter: The community’s owner gave the Days $8,000 in incentives that they used for closing costs and upgrades to their house.
Day is one of 20 sailors living in the Everett Naval Station privatized housing project who have decided to take advantage of the incentives and buy their rental homes. And a line is forming behind them to get into the booming market.
The Days had not planned to buy a house until he was close to retirement in four years, he said, but they decided the time was right. They looked at comparable houses in the area that are selling for more than $200,000.
They closed July 20 on a three-bedroom, 2½-bath town house for $177,450. At the same time last year, the homes were selling for $152,000, Day said.
Navy tenants who now rent in Country Manor Condominiums are offered first dibs on buying their homes, and they also get additional credits of least $1,500 toward the purchase that are not available to the general public, said Barbara Carpenter, a real estate team member of the Navy’s Engineering Field Activity of the Pacific Northwest Region.
Incentives are offered to all buyers, which can bump the total beyond $1,500, as in the Days’ case.
As in other parts of the country, housing sales are booming, with waiting lists of buyers and some units sold before they even hit the market.
In 1997, the 10-year contract was one of the Defense Department’s first privatized housing projects. As part of the deal, Dujardin Development Company proposed a phased sale of the units in the last five years.
About two-thirds, or 123, have been sold in phases since 2003. Of those, 20 have been bought by sailors, 15 have been grabbed by military retirees or veterans, and the general public has picked up 88. Some 62 remain to be sold.
The Navy gets a share of the sales proceeds and will put that money toward future military housing needs.
Privatized housing in one other area — south Texas — will go on the market in about five years. The 102 units at Hawks Landing, near Kingsville, and 302 units at Bridge Pointe, near Ingleside, will go up for sale. At this time, Defense officials said, no other projects include plans to sell units. Most contracts are for longer terms, up to 50 years.
At Everett, units are sold in blocks of about 10 at a time. Prospective tenants are informed about sales before they lease the units, and they are informed that a move might be required. They are given at least 60 days’ notice, and extra time is given as needed in special circumstances.
This reduces the amount of housing available at Everett, but the local community has housing, Carpenter said. As the condos are sold, tenants also have the option to rent a unit at another Everett privatized project, Carroll’s Creek Landing.
In the long term, the Navy plans to replace part of the units at a new site in Marysville, Wash.
The duplex town house units in Phase 4 are listing as follows:
• Three bedrooms, two baths, 1,160 square feet: $179,950 to $183,950.
• Three bedrooms, 2½ baths, 1,212 square feet: $179,950 to $183,950.
• Four bedrooms, 2½ baths, 1,556 square feet: $196,950 to $202,000.
That's about a 20% discount