Monday, July 15

Houston Sees Greatest Number of Master-Planned Homes Sold in 2014

Houston, Texas, has topped a nationwide list of cities with the most master-planned home sales in 2014, with a total of seven of the state’s communities making the cut. Yet the top seller overall was Florida, with over 2,600 sales in one community alone.

John Burns Real Estate Consulting, based in Irving, California, releases a list each year of the 20 top-selling master-planned communities in the United States. Last year, around 13,200 of these types of homes were sold throughout the country.

The top developer went to Houston-based Johnson Development Corp., which is behind three of the top sellers: Riverstone, Woodforest and Cross Creek Ranch. Fourteen other developers besides Johnson Development made the list.

However, sales in Florida also ranked high. The Villages, developed by Villages of Lake Sumter LLC, saw 2,601 sales in 2014, a 24% drop from the 3,419 sales in 2013.

Following The Villages were The Irvine Ranch in Orange County, California, with 1,431 sales in 2014 and Nocatee in Jacksonville, Florida, with 851 home sales.

In Houston, the top development on the list was Riverstone, with 719 homes sold in 2014, placing them at no. 4 in the top 20. Since 2013, when the community sold 791 homes, sales have dropped 9%.

In fact, many of the planned communities on the list experienced decreases in sales, some by as much as 47%. (That was Cinco Ranch in Houston, which was tied for the no. 13 spot with 451 home sales last year.)

Yet despite the decrease in sales for Riverstone and 13 other communities, developers are becoming more savvy with buyers, who know what to look for in a planned community.

“Most MPCs offer a level of thoughtful planning, amenities, and product differentiation that is very attractive to a wide universe of buyers,” says  Adam Krug, Executive of Hayman Woods, LLC. “Sales velocity and price increases become self-reinforcing as more buyers are comfortable with the value proposition in a mature community. As such, larger and mature MPCs tend to capture outsized market share.”

Most if not all of the homes in planned communities fall into the luxury home category, with prices at the $200,000 mark or higher.

And with labor shortages and the prices of materials going up, the prices could see greater increases over time, according to Todd LaRue, managing director of real estate advisory firm RCLCO, which also reports on planned communities.

LaRue also pointed out that more of these homes are being built in high-demand areas, such as the remaining spaces left in The Woodlands in Houston, which is near the new 385-acre campus for Exxon-Mobil. The Woodlands ranked at no. 12 on the list with 468 home sales in 2014.

Overall, 3,408 of these homes sold in Houston, and 13,180 homes sold in all 20 communities for 2014. In 2013, there were 14,973 master-planned houses sold, representing a 12% decrease in 2014.

Other cities that made the list include Las Vegas, Nevada; San Antonio, Texas; Denver, Colorado; Los Angeles, California; Sarasota, Florida; and Orlando, Florida.

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