This is my personal opinion, and thus it might be biased, so take it with a grain of salt.
3. Phase 3, built in 2005, and most units sold at the TOP of the real estate bubble for outrageous prices. I am almost sure that EVERY unit in Phase 3 has been or will be foreclosed on, or short sold. Example, some of the nicer 2 bedrooms condo, high floor and or corner, in the cookie cutter 4 buildings (4 Conste, 15 / 30 Freedom, and 15 Enterprise), went as high as $700K in 2005 / 2006. Check out the county records.
Go here: http://tax1.co.monmouth.nj.us/cgi-bin/prc6.cgi?&ms_user=glou&passwd=data&srch_type=0&adv=0&out_type=0&district=0906
Choose "Multi-Line List Format", and one-by-one, type "15 Freedom", "30 Freedom", "4 Constellation", "15 Enterprise" in the location field, and search. Look at the prices, and the dates.
Also, significant number of the current "owners" are absent landlords. Some of them don't even live in the USA.
Phase 3 has what appears to be luxury appointments (granite in the kitchen, marble in the bathroom, stainless steel, hardwood). However, for this area (NY / Jersey Gold Coast), this is what I would call "apartment grade" luxury.
Walls are thin. Ceiling floors are also thin. 2 Bedrooms have little in the way of closet space or storage space. These are perfect for apartment living.
The townhomes in Phase 3 are a totally different story. They are large, well built and beautiful. About a year ago the prices bottomed, and several townhomes on Constitution, NOT direct waterfront, went for amazing prices. Like low $600s for 2100 SqFt 2 BR, 3Baths, or upper $600, lowr $700 for 2400 Sq Ft, 3 / 3s.
The big problem in Phase 3 is that too many are tenant-occupied, which means paying 0.25% or more additional for the mortgage, everything else being equal.
Phase 3 has been in existence for too short, and does not have capital reserve issues (yet). Also, Phase 3 is the farthest from water, and has no issue such as being built on a man-made island, flooding, etc. Phase 3 maitenance is relatively low. E.g., for a 2 bedroom In Phase 3, it is roughly $600-700 a month.
DO NOTE that about $300 out of that is paid to the umbrella HOA, so only about $300-400 goes too Phase 3 maintenance.
However, there might have been some small assessments for heavy snow removal, for Irene, and there might be some for Sandy. These are not really maintenance issues, but rather than emergency issues.
2. Phase 2. These are mostly townhomes, combination of waterfront or inland. Some of them have garage, some don't. I would say some of the layouts are questionable. E.g., close to 2000 SqFt, but living space does not seem that large.
You can have direct waterfront ones with very spacious and sunny layouts for low $700s.
The big problem for Phase 2 is on-going litigation, which means paying 0.25% or more additional for mortgage, everything else being equal.
Most of Phase 2 was built before / around 2000, so a lot of homeowners are not underwater, unless they bought around 2005/06 from the original owner.
Now, Phase 2 and 3 are managed by Signature Property Group, which also manages the umbrella Homeowners Association. I think SPG is OK. Not great, just OK.
3. Phase 1 is the oldest, and has the most interesting types of properties and the most diversity in terms of the types of properties. Developer took years to build out Phase 1, so some of the buildings were built in mid-80s, while some in early 90s.
Maintenance in Phase 1 is high, especially in the condos. The typical answer given to this is "Heat and some other utilities are included". Well, that's nice, but on an average annualized basis, that is worth about $75 / a month. How do you explain that a similar property in Phase 3 has $400 less in maintenance fees?
Well, I believe the answer is that about 10-15 years after the developer left, the management of the finances in Phase 1 fell into problems, that a lot of Condo Managements fall into. Typically, not enough is being collected in the first 10-15 years, resulting in low reserves and lack of capital projects.
So what happened is that in years (2009, 2010, 2011), there were special assessments, sometimes as high as the entire annual maintenance fee. E.g., there was a year in which special asessment for a typical unit was $5000-$10000. Consider that a typical unit in Phase 1 has about $1000 a month, out of which $300 goes to the Umbrella organization. Thus, annual regular maitenance going to Phase 1 is 12 x 700 = $8400. But you get hit with another $7000 as "special assessment".
Now, I believe this period of high assessments is past. However, the regular maintenance is somewhat elevated, because they have wisened up the increase in the regular maintenance is termed as "reserve fund / capital contribution".