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Mueller Central phase 1 layout and prices

Tuesday and Wednesday I made it into Mueller Central and an affordable home seminar offered by Catellus and David Weekley.

Everyone I talked to was very nice and took a lot of time to answer my questions. I got a a map [PDF] which ends the mystery about the layout of phase 1, and an approximate price list by builder.

Mueller site plan phase 1

The layout: Phase 1 of the Mueller Pioneer lottery process will be built in two sub-phases, 1a and 1b, to be completed a few months apart. Phase 1b will also include a "neighborhood park and amenity center" with an olympic lap pool. I was right about the location of the garden homes at Camacho and Moreno streets, and that there are just a few of them as an experiment. Builders are assigned entire blocks, which concerns me a bit; even though each builder has a couple of floor plans and several facades, there would have been more variety if they'd mixed the builders up within each block. On the plus side, Weekley's "affordable" and "market rate" yard houses will be mixed (but not their row houses). Interestingly, one block facing the lake park has been reserved for custom homes, which I'd guess will be $1M and higher given that the Streetman houses are in the upper $500K+ range.

Prices and counts: Contrary to what I reported the other day, yard houses from Davd Weekley and Meritage should start in the mid-$240K range. Specific prices are to come from the builders, but even those are not yet fixed; a David Weekley rep at the affordability seminar told me that they have to get their plans through the architectural review first, which may or may not happen before the end of April when the Pioneer program closes! So Pioneers have to choose a builder and category (yard vs. row house) on the basis of an approximate price and an approximate floor plan.

Here's the approximate price and count for each house style -- this is from the handout they gave me and will be subject to change! Watch MuellerAustin for the official word.

BuilderTypeCountPrice range
David WeekleyMarket-rate row houses  23from the low $200,000's
David WeekleyMarket-rate yard houses  69from the low to mid $200,000's
David WeekleyAffordable row houses  40from the $120,000's
David WeekleyAffordable yard houses  31from the $140,000's
MeritageYard houses  52from the $240,000's
MuskinGarden court houses  6from the $280,000's
SaldaƱaGarden court houses  6from the $200,000's
Standard PacificYard houses  84from the $330,000's
StreetmanYard houses  37from the $500,000's

I'm no bookie, but based on these numbers my guess is that the demand relative to the supply will be most intense for affordable yard houses and from there it will be inversely related to price. New urbanist and green built or not, my hunch is that the intensity of interest in Mueller is primarily price-driven. If you can afford it, your best bet in the lottery may be on the Streetman or Standard Pacific higher-end models. It will be interesting to see how the actual signup/inventory ratios turn out for each category. (Idea: This might be a job for a prediction market, assuming prediction markets can handle complex multi-variable systems like this. I should talk to Ed Vielmetti.)

The rollout: Phase 1 is the first of nine phases to be completed over ten years (yes, count 'em, ten years). The Town Center is not to be built until phase 3, which will disappoint the people interested in live/work and shop houses. The apartments at the south end of Mueller will be built in phase 2 or 3 as well, and so far there's no word on what their design will be like. (Let me make a pessimistic guess: can you say Triangle?)

austin 2007.03.10 link


You know, I think the way to simplify this for a prediction market may be to treat each category of house like a candidate and the percentage of people signed up for each category who succeed in buying one like the vote count. Or do election prediction markets all work on vote share and have to add up to 100%? Hmm.

(If you're just joining us, the way the Pioneers program works is that you have to sign up for one and only one category of house, then the list for each category is randomized and builders start working their way down each list trying to close deals. The ratio of potential buyers to houses is estimated to be 10 to 1. So the question is, for which category of house does one have the best chance?)

Prentiss Riddle [riddle cxe io punkto com] • 2007.03.10
Do you expect that people will be allowed to speculate? That is, enter the lottery without any intention of buying, but then turning around and selling that right to the highest bidder?

I'd like to consider moving, but the plots are so anti-dog-friendly that it's not really an option for our family with a Dalmation and a German Shepherd hybrid.

David Smith [david_smith cxe unforgettable punkto com] • 2007.03.10
David, what I was told about speculation is that the rules call for immediate disqualification if there's any hint of gaming the system, e.g. by two members of a couple signing up independently. Selling your place in line would presumably disqualify you, too.

My guess is there's nothing to stop you from flipping a house -- completing the purchase and reselling -- except for the "affordable" houses. The city is reportedly still putting together the details on the resale restrictions for those.

Prentiss Riddle [riddle cxe io punkto com] • 2007.03.10
Prices are now higher. David Weekly yard houses start at 260,000 and row houses start at 240,000. I guess they have the demand for it.

BB • 2007.03.12
Any thoughts on the row houses? I am considering entering the lottery to get one because I like the designs and I am attracted by the idea. I'm concerned, though, that it may be wiser to spend the money on the yard house.

What kind of demand is there for the row houses? I'm guessing that more people are interested in the yard homes, but of couse, I don't know for sure.

Jane • 2007.04.18
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