Why are BLT maintenace fees so low?

Discussion in 'Purchasing DVC' started by DPCummerbund, Jun 3, 2013.

  1. DPCummerbund

    DPCummerbund Mouseketeer

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    TL;DR version - why are maintenance fees / dues at BLT so much less than at the other resorts?



    In researching DVC, I'm finding that the maintenance fees are a lot more important than I thought - and in many ways, more important than the purchase price.

    From looking at the threads that have detailed the maintenance fee histories of the resorts, I estimated that fees seem to rise 3% every year. I've read articles written on other sites that have done the math and come up with a figure of 3.2%. (Note: I'm not complaining about the fact that rates rise - I'm actually rather impressed that they're fairly low, since the rates seem reasonably aligned with inflation).

    Anyway, even assuming you're paying the higher prices of buying direct, maintenance fees are going to be 60-70% of your total expense over the several decades of your loan (I'm basing this off the 29 years remaining for BWV, BCV, and VWL, & comparing those 3 because they're all attached to existing Deluxe resorts). For example, Disney is currently offering those 3 resorts at $130 per point, with a 100 point minimum, for a total cost of $13,000 (plus closing costs). However, over the remaining 29 years, you'er going to pay $27,000-$28,000 in maintenance fees (assuming they keep rising at 3.2% per year).

    Which brings me to AKL and BLT. I'm assuming that Disney was offering BLT at $165 per point and AKV at $145 per point because they're newer, & have more years left on them. BLT, I assume, is also at a premium price because of supply & demand - being a monorail resort & located convenient to MK have increased its value in the eyes of its buyers. Resale prices show that AKV is not really worth $15 per point more than the other 3, but BLT is running about $25 per point more than the other resorts in resale. So, it does seem like there's a perception that BLT "ought" to cost more per point.

    However, when you factor in the maintenance fees, BLT's lower fees make a big impact on price. Since BLT owners are paying about $1.25 less than the other resorts, that translates to thousands of dollars less in fees over the course of the contract. According to my admittedly humble math skills, I'd estimate that the $1.25 per point in maintenance should translate to about $22 per point off the purchase price.

    (Summary on how I got that number, if you care: if resorts increase their fees by 3.2% each year, and using a 100 point contract as an example, owners at BCV, BWV, and VWR will pay approximately $27,200-$28,100 in fees over the next 29 years until their contracts expire. BLT owners, in comparison, will spend only 21,700 in the next 29 years, saving them over $5000. At 3.2% per year, that's about $2200 up front, or $22 per point on a 100 point contract. Sure, owners could save/invest the difference in different ways & get different returns, but I'm assuming their total DVC spending is equal for the sake of the argument.)

    In summary, BLT should command the premium it does BASED ON LOWER MAINTENANCE FEES ALONE. The fact that it already does so based on both its prime location & the extra length of its contracts leads me to think that BLT is significantly "underpriced", both direct and resale.

    So, that leads me to my next question: why are BLT fees so much lower than at the other resorts? it doesn't seem to be related to the age of the resort - VGC is new but rather low as well (about the same as BLT), but AKV is rather high. Aulani is extremely high, but I know about their fee fiasco. Even the new VGF, while being offered at a low $145 now, still has fees starting at $5.41, almost a dollar higher than BLT. So what's going on with all the different fee levels, and why is BLT at the bottom?
     
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  3. BestDadEver

    BestDadEver New DVC Member

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    I think they make he MF based on a precetage of what they need to keep the resort running based on he amount of rooms available to DVC . That what I get out of what I read .

    I also think that with the higher price resorts it helps with the sales so they keep it low till its sold out . I am not sure what BLT is not but when I bought it was $3.5 pp MF the lowest by a lot . I personally would have preffered to buy in higher to get the lower MF for the term but it was a bit more money then I was willing to do . So I got the best of both worlds a I bought the second lowest MF at SSR and t was much cheaper pp the BLT . I was able to do this since I was not dead set on any particular resort .

    Also something was to consider , is if something that need major repairs or drives up costs at the resort will most likely raise your MF higher then the 3% skewing you numbers . Like if they decide to refurb the mono rail could get BLT MF up to par with the other resorts . Or let's say the animals get sick AKV MF could get effected by that . I think the best example was vero beach or HH one of them the MF are almost 12% cause they got hit with a big storm and the restart needed major repairs .

    This was a big consideration when I was buying . They were pushing AKV and Aulani . They offering 20 free points for every 100 you bought for those 2 resorts but the pp was higher than SSR I could have bought the 120 for the same price ( I should have and wanted to but the wife talked me out of it ) . Anyway factored in the MF cost of SSR at $4.5 and AKV at $5.5 at the time I purchased and bought SSR .
     
  4. Missyrose

    Missyrose DIS Veteran

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    The tower set-up will always work in BLT's favor when it comes to keeping MFs low. There's less upkeep and landscaping. Though since the (since departed) head of DVC did most of the BLT decor on the cheap, there will likely have to be refurbs ahead of schedule. And that could drive the MFs up significantly.

    But one caveat I will urge you to look at is the points cost per night. BLT's MFs may be low, but since it costs more points to book a room their than any of the other resorts (until VGF), the point value begins to fall in line with the other resorts.
     
  5. davedmaine

    davedmaine DIS Veteran

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    It's new.
     
  6. Missyrose

    Missyrose DIS Veteran

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    So is VGF and that resort's MFs are $0.90 per point more than BLT.
     
  7. bisney

    bisney Earning My Ears

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    +1,000,000.

    AKV's MF might seem high but the point cost of staying there is quite low, especially for value suites. For example, 1 week in a value suite at AKV takes 167 points during Dream season, MFs x pts = $946.89
    1 week at BLT during Dream season for a 1 bed standard view = $1,125.00. Obviously there are many other factors (location/proximity to park, monorail access, etc) but Missyrose hit the nail on the head right there re: points cost per night. I find that subject doesn't get enough consideration in the DVC purchase threads.

    Also, BLT's MFs went from 3.67 in 2009 to 4.50 in 2013 giving an increase of 22.6%
    Comparatively, SSR's MFs went from 4.34 to 4.81 during the same period giving an increase of 10.8%

    So beware of the trend in BLT's MFs along with the expensive point cost per night. When you factor those into your decision, you may rethink your analysis re: BLT's premium.
     
  8. iluvthsgam

    iluvthsgam Mouseketeer DVC Gold

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    If you calculate the average annual increase in MF's, BLT is actually rising the fastest.

    From my calculations this is what the average annual percent increase has been for each resort: (caveat: BLT only has 5 years of history so it is hard to make an accurate judgment on how it will go into the future)

    OKW: 3.49%
    VB(s): 4.20%
    VB: 4.51%
    HH: 3.86%
    BWV: 2.72%
    VWL: 3.68%
    BCV: 3.73%
    SSR: 2.65%
    AKV: 3.47%
    BLT: 5.23%
    VGC: 4.64%
    AHV(s): 4.43%
    AHV: 4.44%

    Assuming these rates stay consistent (again which is hard for the newer resorts because less data is available, but it is all we have), we get the following maintenance fees in year 2042:

    OKW: $14.45
    VB(s): $19.10
    VB: $26.60
    HH: $18.08
    BWV: $12.72
    VWL: $16.51
    BCV: $16.31
    SSR: $10.28
    AKV: $15.26
    BLT: $19.73
    VGC: $17.07
    AHV(s): $16.50
    AHV: $22.02

    In your analysis you did the average annual rate for both AKV and BLT, but you have to look at each resort individually. BLT is rising much faster then AKV. But again, these are both new resorts, so who knows if the rates will stay on this path.

    SSR and BWV are the slowest moving so far. Also, I assume that AHV, HH, and VB are all higher due to costs related to being on the beach and those issues coming from that, insurance, hurricane, wind damage, etc.
     
  9. montrealdisneylovers

    montrealdisneylovers Mouseketeer

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    The number of points sold per resort also has something to do with it. BLT is a bigger resort and the total cost of operation is divided amongst a larger number of points hence the lower per point cost.
     
  10. disneynutz

    disneynutz DIS Veteran DIS Lifetime Sponsor

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    Here is my opinion.

    When BLT was actively being sold, the Guides told their prospective buyers that BLT had the lowest dues, a real cost saver over the years.

    The Disney executive in power at the time also opened Aulani and set the dues rate there. After sales started he and two other executives were fired, sales were halted, the dues rate was increased. Early buyers were notified that Disney would pay the difference between the incorrect rate and the new rate for the life of the contract.

    The next year BLT went up over 6%, the year after that another increase of over 6%.

    Is it passable that there was a "mistake" made when setting BLT's dues rate during the active sales period?

    :earsboy: Bill
     
  11. Breyean

    Breyean DVC Since '93

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    Just to clarify, the offer to us original Aulani buyers was a subsidy equal to that difference that year. The subsidy amount was a fixed dollar amount, and as dues increase at Aulani overall, the subsidy will remain the same, thus becoming a smaller and smaller percentage discount off the total dues.
     
  12. sweetdana

    sweetdana DIS Veteran

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    I do not know if I would use the word mistake.. I believe they were falsely inflated low.. but I do agree with this..

    I believe they we will see 2-4% higher increases that other resorts until they even this out. The fact of all new refurbs/issues being so new is not going to help either....


    BY 2020 it will be on par with every one else...
    IMO..
     
  13. disneynutz

    disneynutz DIS Veteran DIS Lifetime Sponsor

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    Thanks for the correction. :thumbsup2

    :earsboy: Bill
     
  14. dmunsil

    dmunsil Disney Uber-Nerd

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    The maintenance costs of a resort are going to vary somewhat, but I don't think they'll diverge wildly over the years. For starters, the costs of interiors are not going to vary very much in how they go up in cost over the years. The furnishings in VGF might be more expensive than the ones in BLT, but the inflation rate for furnishings in general should be the same. Same for carpets, drapes, plumbing.

    Labor cost for repairs and maintenance is local. You'd expect there to be a difference in that between Florida and Hawaii, but not between different resorts at WDW. And again, labor inflation is the same for all resorts.

    Exterior maintenance is largely going to depend on exterior surface area relative to number of units, and how extensive the grounds are that count toward the Villas. A resort like OKW has way more roof and wall area per unit than BLT or AKV, since OKW is scattered two- and three-story units and BLT is a single tall tower. Something like Saratoga where there are a bunch of units but they're larger than OKW will be in the middle.

    As these various factors inflate differently, the fees will shift relative to each other somewhat. But one resort is not going to get massively larger fees than another; they all have costs in all of the various categories.
     
  15. disneynutz

    disneynutz DIS Veteran DIS Lifetime Sponsor

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    Exterior maintenance at the ocean resorts seems like they would/should be higher due to the salt air and storm damage not covered by insurance.

    :earsboy: Bill
     
  16. tjkraz

    tjkraz <img src="http://www.wdwinfo.com/images/silver.jpg

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    The fact that it's a vertical concrete tower helps. But even more influential are the high point charts. The higher the charts, the more points DVC can sell. The more they sell, the further dues get spread out.

    BLT has 5.73 million points with an overall 2013 budget (inc taxes & capital improvements) of $25.7 million.

    If the BLT point charts were lower and more on par with Beach Club Villas, there would only be about 5.14 million points. Apply the same $25.7 million budget to just 5.14 mil points and the dues rate rises to $5.01 per point.

    Those higher point charts are the single biggest driver of "low" dues.

    Variations will always exist by resort. The size of the resort plays a factor--large locations like OKW and SSR benefit from economies of scale. Property taxes vary from location-to-location. Amenities play a big role (Community Hall, Savanna at AKV, pools, etc.) Villa sizes and designs vary. Even building materials vary in how they withstand the Florida weather.

    In the case of Grand Floridian, DVC clearly threw all caution to the wind and made the rooms very upscale. Despite the high point charts, dues are higher than many other WDW properties. Owners will be paying for that luxury via their dues for decades to come.

    Hotels are no longer "new" within 3-6 months of opening. Maintenance needs are almost immediate, and timeshare owners begin contributing to a long-term capital improvements fund from Day One.

    IF budgetary mistakes were made in the early years, DVC would have had a legal obligation to correct them immediately. They don't have the luxury of gradually spinning-up dues to their proper levels.

    Some events did happen over the last two years which contributed to the increases we have seen:

    2012: Owners of combined DVC / cash properties pay a share of operating costs for nearly ALL resort services and amenities. That share is based upon the percentage of DVC villa vs. cash guests. For the 2012 budget, the DVC percentage at Contemporary was calculated to be higher than original projections. As such, BLT owners saw pretty much across-the-board spikes in operating categories as they were forced to pay a higher share of Contemporary costs. (Same thing happened at AKV, too.)

    2013: Staffed front desk was added and property taxes saw a noteworthy increase. Taxes are set by the county and valuations are mostly based upon sales prices. With DVC raising rates up to $165 per point, property values went up and taxes rose. In the coming years, the vast majority of transfers will be via resale, with prices currently in the $90-100 vicinity. Eventually BLT taxes will begin to decline as they've done at other resorts which are mostly resale now.
     
  17. dmunsil

    dmunsil Disney Uber-Nerd

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    Right, but will it accelerate at a higher rate than other costs? That would be an argument for the fees always being higher than other resorts, but not for them increasing faster.

    If storms get worse than predicted, via climate change or something, that could cause an unexpected acceleration, but otherwise it's just reasonably predictable maintenance of oceanfront property.
     
  18. DPCummerbund

    DPCummerbund Mouseketeer

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    I think you all are right about the design of the resort itself leading to lower costs. It also seems like Disney has moved to more of a "skyscraper" design for all the resorts lately, rather than expensive, spread-out buildings. Even the new rumored Poly resort is supposed to be taller 5-story buildings instead of 2-3 story longhouses. Thus, since BLT is clearly the tallest & most simple building, costs would probably be lower.

    I assumed the same thing disneynutz did about the ocean resorts - maintenance is more expensive there because of the salt air. However, I'm startled by the point increase after actual storms. Doesn't Disney have insurance for storms and floods? What would happen if a major hurricane hit Vero Beach or Hilton Head and put the resort out of commission for a few years?
     
  19. JessLCH

    JessLCH DIS Veteran

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    The lower fees at BLT is one of several reasons we chose it over AKL for a resale purchase. Still not owners yet though...contract is in ROFR for another week or so.
     
  20. rlovew

    rlovew Moderator Moderator

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    The owners would lose their points for the time period the resorts were being reconstructed if insurance covered it otherwise if they decide not to rebuild the resort than the insurance money is given out to owners based on the number of points they own and they are no longer DVC members if this is there only resort. This has been a caution offered to people that decide to buy one of these resorts with the main purpose being to reserve rooms at WDW.
     
  21. Nabas

    Nabas Mouseketeer

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    But you also need to consider points/night. Simplistically, for a week in September:

    - BLT Standard View Studio: $4.4972/point X 102 points = $458.71
    - AKV Standard View Studio: $5.6749/point X 81 points = $459.67

    Theoretically, you could have purchased fewer AKV points for the same week-long vacation and ended up paying about the same amount annually. As you allude to, there are many reasons someone might pick BLT over AKV but MF is not one of them, especially since, BLT's fees have gone up 15% in the last 2 years. Long-term, counting on one resort's MF to be less than others can be a dicey proposition.

    Once you get to the 7-month window, it seems to me that a point is a point. So if you intend to frequently stay at non Home Resorts, a low MF is excellent. In this sense, you're BLT points are much better than AKV points.

    I'm one of those who prefer to buy where I want to stay the most. The one thing I've had to get used to as a DVC member is booking vacations at my Home Resort 11 months out and then hoping for the best at the 7-month window if I want to stay elsewhere.
     

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