John Burns Real Estate Consulting, LLC applauds the nation’s top 20 masterplans for their strong new home sales in 2016. We reviewed nearly 340 masterplans to arrive at our Top 20 list, ranked by 2016 new home sales net of cancellations. Together, the top 20 masterplans sold 14,190 homes in 2016, reflecting a 6% year-over-year increase and representing 3% of annual new home sales.
Our Top 20 list reflects some huge shifts:
- Retirement sell-out. The Villages masterplan, a retiree haven located north of Orlando, finally showed signs of running out of lots while also raising prices on the remaining homes, selling 1,966 homes after many years of exceeding 2,800 sales annually. Beneficiaries include The West Villages masterplan in Sarasota, where four existing communities combined forces (aided by research from our own Lesley Deutch) to become a masterplan in 2016, reaching 848 home sales and #4 on our list. Florida developers continue to plan and open new communities to compete for the 55+ market share. Assuming our forecast for a 38% increase in those over the age of 65 by 2025 in our new book is correct, several of those land owners could successfully target retirees!
- Prestige matters. Nocatee in Jacksonville remains at the #3 spot, despite strong local competition, aided by the developer’s mastery of product segmentation and builder mix. Nocatee’s great location, appealing amenity base, product range, and popular schools capture the attention of many relocation buyers in addition to locals.
- Public builders bring momentum. Lakewood Ranch moves up in the 2016 rankings, as the MPC benefited from numerous new neighborhood openings and expansion of existing neighborhoods. With at least five new public and two new private builders now operating at Lakewood Ranch, the MPC offers homes across all price points and product types.
- Houston plunges. Last year Houston claimed five of the top 20 masterplans. This year, only Johnson Development’s upscale Riverstone masterplan captured a spot, at #20. To those clients who were initially critical of our November 2014 call for a sharp correction to a very mild recession, you are welcome. At the same time, thank you to our local consulting leader, David Jarvis, as well as those same clients for helping educate us that recent population growth would allow Houston to narrowly avoid a recession, which it has done.
- Supply surge in Orange County. Remarkably, one of the most supply-constrained markets in the country placed four masterplans in the Top 20 list this year. Five Point Communities’ Great Park, Rancho Mission Viejo, and a Shea/Toll joint venture at Baker Ranch joined the Irvine Company this year, combining for more than 3,400 home sales—most of which exceeded $800,000 in price! Mollie Carmichael, who led consulting projects on all four of these masterplans, reports that great design and product differentiation were key to success this year. Success definitely was not all about price.
- Vegas is back. Summerlin and Inspirada together sold about 1,300 homes this year, reaching #6 and #8 on our list. Ken Perlman and Steve Burch tell us that Vegas has finally cleared up the foreclosure mess, with plenty of buyers desiring the latest and greatest floor plans in the most desirable masterplans in Nevada.
- Some single-builder communities captured enough sales to rank in our Top 20 list alongside the multiple-builder masterplans. We comply with requests from some public builders who do not want us to publish sales data for their solo communities. As one public builder controlled the remainder of Dallas’s Westridge masterplan in 2016, we acknowledge the amazing sales results but have removed the masterplan from our ranking.
- Former “broken communities” among the top sellers nationally. Six years into a housing recovery, we continue to track sales at recovered or repositioned masterplans in Texas, Florida, California, and the Southwest. Some operate as builder collectives, such as Inspirada in Las Vegas, #8 in our ranking. Numerous private equity-owned masterplans have opened for sales as well, with many more planning to open in 2017.
- Developers not tracking home sales. We are not surprised anymore when we come across Texas and Florida developers who do not track the builders’ home sales. However, we are surprised that some private equity groups ignore the builders’ sales and track just their lot sales. The builders’ sales provide a more sensitive read on current market conditions, and we hope these smart, financial types will seize the opportunity.