Sales for top-20 masterplans fell to 13,200 homes in 2014

By Ken Perlman & Jody KahndFHBqJX9Iu2nfRmBR-sCkrV-J4zblbSch0ZHruEMjGF6fGC0Qq09O83bC1PwGQKbctnVtn7Rp3NlTgeRJ4_a-aU1SJru4CSpI86VDOFHiho2eiLbedcY8kHC=s0-d-e1-ft

John Burns Real Estate Consulting, LLC (JBREC) congratulates the top 20 masterplans in the country on their strong new home sales in 2014, against an environment of cooler housing market conditions. To identify the top 20, JBREC associates considered over 130 communities nationwide.

Three clear themes emerged in this year’s national top 20 ranking. Many of the success stories were new: Several communities with infrastructure started early in the recovery came out of the gate strongly in 2013 and experienced phenomenal sales in 2014.

Retirees were also a big part of the 2014 success story, as The Villages 55+ community in Florida once again topped our list with 2,601 sales, while Rancho Mission Viejo in Orange County, California, sold 451 homes in 2014 — with a third of the sales arising in the very successful active adult section called Gavilan.

Lastly, there was much influence from foreign born buyers. Pavilion Park at Great Park, also in Orange County, had an impressive year with 425 sales, targeting foreign buyers, particularly from Asia. The Irvine Company, right next door to Great Park, had another great year targeting the same demographic. While Irvine Ranch sales slipped a bit, partially due to the competition, a number of new floor plan ideas at both masterplans helped increase overall sales.

Most master-planned communities sold fewer homes in 2014 than 2013, vfIZ9xOiEOQqvUBkNbJzJZNfOJeeDU-QgzaBgKoPmxopCqKoff3Nq3go61oxNoBknr0lJ1dfjm6_5KkvpzT-rPRHQKLiRrnkFWo3Bt_3MaxYWScCjCgh=s0-d-e1-ftsome due to delays in lot availability or nearing sell-out and others due to a combination of a slower market and higher new home prices. We conducted field research on the majority of the top 20 communities in 2014. For most, segmentation and new designs inspired by consumer research made a big difference in 2014.

Together, the top 20 communities sold nearly 13,200 homes, which we estimate at 3% of all new, single-family home sales in 2014. Although 2014 sales in the top 20 communities declined by 12 percent from 2013, the decline is materially less than the 20 percent YOY decline indicated by our national builder survey of November conditions. And once again, Houston dominated the list with seven of the top 20 communities, and Johnson Development is behind 3 of these top sellers. Yet despite continued low volume in Las Vegas, three masterplans made the top 20 list.

Please contact Ken Perlman or Jody Kahn for more information on our methodology and ranking.




High-end housing demand, profits rise in California

-2Hermosa Beach, CA — Real estate speculative construction of super hyper luxury homes are slated to generate investment returns and profits not seen since the dark days prior to the Great Recession of 2008. South Bay CRE, a full service real estate brokerage firm and general contractor based in Hermosa Beach, is seeing an influx of home developers interested in building estates starting at sales prices of $15 million. Demand drivers from high net worth cash buyers, overseas Chinese investors and rising land values are fueling the speculation from local housing developers. Conversely, speculators are concerned about rising wage risk as projects break ground and employ more labor.

During the Great Recession, many local cash-in-hand developers acquired discounted developable lots near beachfronts and hillsides with views. “With buying buildable land at reasonable price points a few years ago, investors had the opportunity to make projects work financially,” said Edwin Duterte of South Bay CRE. “(In) Southern California — and more specifically, the South Bay beach cities — wealthy and educated people are always moving in. Within the next 12 months we will see high tech companies, such as Google, YouTube, IMAX and Microsoft, move into adjacent areas like Playa Vista. This will create more high-end housing demand. Additionally, Chinese money will also push the envelope within the super hyper lux market. These facts are driving up sales prices to unimaginable numbers from 2008.”-1

Dave Iler of South Bay CRE Construction is working on half a dozen new constructions in the Beach Cities including a $16.9 MM spec home on The Strand in Manhattan Beach. “Although our projects use the highest quality materials, the demand is placing some stress on finding the right workers, increasing wages and thus pressures on our bottom line,” said Iler. “Even with that into consideration, the developers and investors of these new construction projects will still enjoy a good return.”

To learn more about South Bay CRE, Dave Iler or Edwin Duterte, please call 424-282-1000 or email


New Stellar Collection residences unveiled in Truckee, CA

location-section-2-slide-1024x561-1Truckee, CA – Mountainside Northstar, Lake Tahoe’s premier ski-in/ski-out community, has broken ground on the new Stellar Collection of luxury residences and townhomes, currently available for purchase. Designed by Bay Area-based Bohlin Cywinski Jackson — lead agency for Apple Inc. stores worldwide, including the iconic Fifth Avenue location — the collection offers Stellar Residences, six single-family homes, as well as 11 Stellar Townhomes.

The Stellar Collection was developed to introduce a new kind of mountainside luxury for Northstar California — cozily contemporary and thoughtfully progressive in design.

“We’ve learned from work in the Bay Area that there’s an appetite for an ‘alpine modern’ home, one that’s influenced by contemporary European mountain living,” said Gregory Mottola, principal of BCJ’s San Francisco office. “The plans are thoughtful and concise. Instead of a lot of decorative flourishes, the design has been distilled to its essence. Stellar is the progressive mountain retreat for the Northstar of the 21st century.”

“The mountain home was ripe for a rethink,” said Jim Telling, member of Mountainside’s development team. “Buyers today are telling us they want a home that isn’t their dad’s ski chalet. They still want a mountain experience, not a duplicate of their city place – but they want something that sets the tone for their generation.”

Both offerings provide direct slope side access to the ski runs and hiking trails of Northstar California. Stellar Residences will offer 3,400 square feet of fresh design — available in two floor plans — with large outdoor living spaces equipped with a hot tub, fire pit and spectacular mountain and valley views. Each four-bedroom home includes a spacious master suite and guest-master, 3.5 baths, ski room, two-car garage, spacious media room and incorporates a main-level great room with a fireplace, living, dining and kitchen space. Interior finishes include whitewashed hickory floors and cabinets, slab counters with Heath tile backsplash in kitchen, Quartzite bathroom counters, as well as top-of-the-line appliances from Sub-Zero, Wolf and Bosch.

Stellar Townhomes, one of which is a stand alone single-family residence, allow for 2,100 sq. ft. of space over two stories, with three bedrooms, 2.5 baths and working rooms built along the spine of the home, leaving more space for the main floor great room. With both up- and down-slope views, the townhomes feature an indoor fireplace in the great room, outdoor living space, loft space and a ski room for gear. Interior finishes include white oak floors and cabinets, slab counters with Heath tile backsplash and appliances from KitchenAid and Bosch.

International Realty expands with Locust Valley, NY acquisition

PRA_FindanAgentLocust Valley, NY — Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty, one of the nation’s leading realtors, recently acquired Piping Rock Associates of Locust Valley, NY. Founded in 1964, Piping Rock Associates is among the area’s oldest independent realty companies. Daniel Gale Sotheby’s President and CEO Patricia Petersen made the announcement.

Daniel Gale Sotheby’s acquisition of Piping Rock Associates is the latest example of a successful growth strategy Daniel Gale Sotheby’s has employed in Garden City, Stony Brook and other key markets on Long Island — growing primarily through the addition of highly respected and knowledgeable local experts.

“We couldn’t be more pleased that Piping Rock Associates has chosen to team with our Locust Valley office, and we’re looking forward to working with them to create a joint legacy of success,” said Petersen. “Like Piping Rock, our agents operate under the highest standards of professionalism, integrity and expertise with the local knowledge that springs from strong roots in the community. The merging of the two firms’ culture and mission are a perfect fit.”

Patrick H. Mackay, President of Piping Rock Associates, purchased the firm in 1976 when he was 27 years old. He’s built Piping Rock Associates to reflect that deep connection to the area and its unique history.

“Having owned Piping Rock Associates for almost 40 years, I have thought long and hard about what is best for the agents, the company and me,” said Mackhay. “Daniel Gale Sotheby’s is most definitely the best choice for all involved. No other organization compares with their reputation, training, support and professionalism.”

Daniel Gale Sotheby’s opened its Locust Valley office in 1987 and over the years has grown steadily, with 53 agents serving the Locust Valley area. The acquisition of Piping Rock Associates adds another 31 agents.  For the time being, agents will continue to work out of two locations, on Buckram Road and at The Plaza, both in Locust Valley.

Ingenious indigenous designs from around the world

This blog is the final part of our five-day series on Covet Lounge, a European design group currently showcasing at the Maison & Objet in Paris through Tuesday, January 27.

By Peter Fiorilla

Indigenous designs from around the world

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 11.56.19 AM1. Kyan Console (left): This fresh, contemporary piece looks tells a story with its unfinished ends and wide open areas, but what is complete — including its profesionally smoked glass top — makes the Kyan Console look unlike anything else in interior design. The inspiration for the console comes from Beijing’s present-day skyline, but the designers at Covet Lounge incorporated elements of early history Beijing to make the Kyan Console look like a “modern, edgy and strong piece” which also takes the “cosmopolitan style of urban tribes into your homes design.” Kyan derives from Yan, the name typically used for Beijing during the Zhou Dynasty in BC times. Sized at  70.9 inches wide and 29.5 inches tall. Price: $7,510

2. NAZCA sideboard: An organic beauty. Its glossy walnut root veneer, along with an interior in ash wood, makes the Nazca sideboard stand out as “a tribute to Mother Earth’s heartbeat.” It’s also meant to be reminiscent of the movement triggered by tectonic plates, and in particular, that of the Nazca plate located near the coast of Peru. Nazca is a tectonic plate whose earth beat made extraordinary volcanic islands, such as the Galapagos islands, and some of the Nazca’s rocks date back more than 50 million years. Sized at 82.7 inches wide and 35.4 inches tall. Price: $14,110

3. IGBO Rug (right):Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 11.57.37 AM Designed with “masking” in mind, as it is one of the key features of southeastern Nigeria’s Igbo culture, featuring commonly in visual, music and dance expressions. The secret to the Igbo rug is that “the dark patterns resemble the masks (Igbos) use, mainly in social satires, religious rituals, and secret society initiations,” according to Covet Lounge. “Made in hand-knotted dyed wool, this rug is the perfect accomplishment of a bequest of emotions, feelings, smells and memories for all contemporary homes.” Sized at 78.7 inches by 118.1 inches. Price: $14,790

Enchanting chairs for all occasions

This blog is a part of our ongoing series on Covet Lounge, a European design group currently showcasing at the Maison & Objet in Paris through Tuesday, January 27.

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 2.04.05 PMBy Peter Fiorilla

There are almost as many uses for chairs as there are chairs, from including them as part of the scenery or relaxing in them while taking in a spectacular mountain view. These are a few chairs which can be used for any and all occasions, courtesy of Covet Lounge.

1. Koi stool (right): This ornamental Japanese-inspired item is a functional seat, sure, but it’s also treasured for its cultural symbolic value. “Koi carp is a recurring symbol of Japanese culture, highly appreciated by its decorative purposes, not only in water gardens but also in Irezumi practice or, most commonly, in tattoos,” according to Covet Lounge. “The KOI scales from the sides of the tables shine and reflect – on its brass surface – the sun caught throughout the clear water. KOI and the Japanese word for love or affection are homophones, making the carp also a symbol of love and friendship.” Sized 16.1 inches wide and 16.5 inches tall. Price: $4,700

2. Drapesse chair (left): A comfortable — but highly refined — chair which also serves as a tribute to Dorothy Draper, the famous 20th century American interior decorator. This chair is more tailored for unwinding and relaxing in, compared to the Koi stool, but it can be appreciated on its aesthetic merits as well: The designers at Koket took the classic Drapesse chair “and added a bit of Koket lavish & sensuous edge,” putting their own unique twistScreen Shot 2015-01-19 at 2.05.38 PM on a classic item. Comes complete with luxury velvet and metallic cream leather, and is finished with polished brass feet. Sized 28 inches wide and 64.2 inches tall. Price: $7,030

3. Enchanted II chair: Perfect for dining in or for looking out on a particularly scenic view — specifically, any view which has been graced with an enchanted forest. “Our artisans have masterfully captured the alluring essence of an enchanted forest with this dining chair,” according to Covet Lounge. “Its antique gilded branch like structure can’t help but mesmerize the beholder.” The Enchanted II chair is upholstered in luxury velvet, which complements its cast brass oxidized gold plated frame. Sized 18.5 inches wide and 39.4 inches tall. Price: $6,290



Armoires which bring “life” to the room

This blog is a part of our ongoing series on Covet Lounge, a European design group currently showcasing at the Maison & Objet in Paris through Tuesday, January 27.

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 2.47.33 PMBy Peter Fiorilla

Rooms lacking in imagination or ideas often end up feeling stale and unexciting, almost like they’re about to die (in the interior decorating sense, at least). One way to revive a dull space is with symbols of actual life, whether it be portraits of people or a dining table that looks like a Bonsai tree. But some of the coolest pieces which bring “life” to the room are these two beautiful armoires featuring a  peacock and butterfly.

1. Camilia Peacock armoire: Simply awesome. This armoire exudes passion and majesty, with its crown jewel being the hand-carved, gold leaf peacock on the armoire’s doors. (It’s is so pretty that the doors aren’t enough to contain it, as the peacock looks to flow onto the side of the furniture). This expressive piece was inspired by the “aristocratic palaces of the Alexandrian pashas of Egypt,” thus its antique finish, and is intended to grace regal dining rooms in need of beauty. The large Camilia Peacock armoire, at 46 inches wide and more than 100 inches tall, also fulfills its storage purposes well: It features four antique mirror drawers, along with a pair of adjustable glass shelves, on the inside. Price: $20,700Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 2.49.46 PM

2. Mademoiselle Butterfly armoire: This armoire is defined by the gorgeous butterfly design on its hand-made doors, offering a French-inspired contrast to the Camilia Peacock. But like the Camilia Peacock, every inch of this regal piece — at 47 inches wide and 83 inches tall — gleams with the inherent beauty associated with its centerpiece, in this case butterflies. The Mademoiselle comes in three colors — red, green and blue — but for all three variations, other qualities remain the same: The handle is in polished brass over a silk lining, while a layer of leaf gold coats the armoire and complements its butterfly design. Meanwhile, the interior is covered in gold leaf with high-gloss varnish, and includes plenty of storage space — nine antique mirror drawers, as well as two adjustable glass shelves — for a piece as practical as it is luxurious. Price: $20,700


Three ways to bring more diamonds into the home

This blog is a part of our ongoing series on Covet Lounge, a European design group currently showcasing at the Maison & Objet in Paris through Tuesday, January 27.

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 11.28.06 AM

By Peter Fiorilla

Diamonds are forever, and for some lovers of these precious gemstones, there can never be too many of them within arm’s reach. So here are three ways to bring more diamonds into the home, courtesy of the creative minds at Covet Lounge.

1. Diamond Bathtub (right): Why not bathe in a diamond? This black, opulent bathtub comes with an plush presence, enabling it to fit into upscale bathrooms of any style. At about six feet long and two feet high, the diamond bathtub is surely (probably) one of the largest diamonds you can have in the house, and it has a classic look thanks to its aged brushed brass and iron. This timeless bathtub can be the focal point to build a bathroom around, or if you’re only looking to apply the finishing touches on an already existing room, it still works — every bathroom gets richer with this one-of-a-kind diamond. Price: $51,670

2. Diamond safe and watch winder: Protect your most treasured possessions with yet another treasured possession, in the form of the diamond safe and watch winder. This compact piece — 7.9 inches high and 10.2 inches wide — exudes the ritzy aura of diamonds, but it also draws inspiration from the quality care given to luxury watches. In addition to being well-lapidated, this piece is sculpted from “the finest materials in order to offer the perfect ambiance to the most valued collector watches.” Comes in three different colors. PriceScreen Shot 2015-01-19 at 12.19.10 PM: $2,760

3. Diamond emerald casegoods/sideboard (left): Built as part of Covet Lounge’s limited edition set, this emerald sideboard feels dateless but also contemporary, an exclusive piece of décor which also fits right in with more modern amenities. At 71 inches long and 33 inches tall, the diamond sideboard can also store plenty of everyday items, such as the diamond safe and watch winder. Just be prepared to have some help if you install it — this diamond weighs in at 143 pounds! Price: $33,120

Our favorite designs by the innovative Covet Lounge team


By Peter Fiorilla

Our partners and designers at Covet Lounge are a visionary grouping of four European design brands — Boca do Lobo, DelightFULL, Koket and Brabbu — who united to fulfill their common goal of taking customers on a “journey inside the design world where innovation meets comfort and luxury.” This week, Covet Lounge is among the groups unveiling their best work at the Maison & Objet design show in Paris, where they will be based at the HALL 5B Stand N15/O16.

The prestigious Maison & Objet opens this year on Friday, January 23, with the mission of displaying the world’s most innovative and creative designs. It runs until Tuesday, January 27, and is open from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day at local time. The Maison & Objet is one of the largest global events for professionals working in the art of living, “in all its rich and varied expressions,” and features decoration, design, furniture, accessories, textiles, fragrances, tableware and more.

To celebrate Covet Lounge’s involvement at the Maison & Objet, we will be publishing blog posts daily for the next five days covering some of the compelling creations Covet Lounge has drawn up.

LIGHT Botti Floor Light

Imaginative lights and fixtures we’ve never seen before

1. Botti standing light (left): This distinctive, eight-bulb light, which is handmade in brass and lightly covered in a golden mantel, is so original and distinctive it can be the be the centerpiece of the room. This towering spectacle — it’s 66.9 inches tall, with a 23.6-inch diameter — manages to capture all the details of wind instruments, rewinding the clock back to the jazz- and soul-heavy era of the 1930’s and 1940’s. And to complement that theme, its spotlights offer a soft lighting, attributing simultaneously a “cozy and sophisticated ambiance” for any setting. The Botti standing light’s obvious musical inspiration makes the Botti light a singular attraction, too: It comes recommended for lovers of music. Price: $6,930Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 1.32.51 PM

2. Cay volcano wall light: This is another brass-inspired creation which provides soft, relaxed lighting along with a unique flair, but there couldn’t be more of a contrast between the Botti standing light and this fierce wall decoration. The latter depicts “nature in its rawest form,” in the words of the designers — flames rapidly flowing in the middle of a violent volcano eruption — and radiates the awesome natural power of fire. It’s relatively small, with just a 2.75-inch diameter and at 19.29 inches tall, and can fit into just about any part of the room. And the Cay wall light was molded in casted brass and bronze glass, in order to successfully embody “nature’s ultimate scream.” Price: $6,970

3. Niku foor light (right):  This light’s style is heavily influenced by the culture and environment of the remote island Nikumaroro, which is a part of the Phoenix Islands in the central Pacific. The beautiful elements found in Nikumaroro are represented in the Niku floor light: The light’s relaxing ambiance is evocative of the ocean’s coral, while the eight spheres emerging from its thin, 27-inch diameter marble base — with the highest of the spheres towering at 71 inches above the floor — are the various ecosystems found on the island. Price: $1,390

Home of the late John Hughes to be renovated, showcased

wp2db00d3d_05_06Lake Forest, IL — The Lake Forest Chapter of the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago announces the location of its 16th Biennial Lake Forest Showhouse & Gardens: the east Lake Forest estate of screenwriter, director and producer John W. Hughes, Jr.

Located a block away from Lake Michigan, Hughes’s 21-room home features the exquisite detail of venerable architect Edwin Hill Clark. With the help of more than 30 top interior and landscape designers and architects, including Alessandra Branca, the home will undergo a makeover that includes a kitchen redesign, multiple bathroom renovations and restoration of the grounds. The house will be open for tours daily from April 25 through May 17, 2015.

Built in 1929, the 11,233-square-foot home features seven bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, a library as well as six fireplaces. The home retains much of its original character, with hardwood floors, detailed mill-work, wall paneling and wood-beamed ceilings. The grounds include four bluestone terraces, a large swimming pool and a brick motor court entry spread over two acres.

Hughes’ work defined the ’80s, launching the careers of several Brat Pack actors, including Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez and Matthew Broderick, with classics like “Pretty in Pink,” “The Breakfast Club,”  “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “Home Alone.” Many of Hughes’ movies were filmed and set on the North Shore, near where Hughes grew up. When he retired from directing in 1994, Hughes returned to Illinois, settling in Lake Forest with his wife and two sons. Hughes passed away suddenly in 2009 of a heart attack and his widow, Nancy Hughes, generously donated the home to Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital in 2014.

Weekdays hours for tours will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and weekends hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Shuttles will transport visitors to the home from downtown Lake Forest. Tickets will be available online for $35 per person and at the door for $40 per person. Special events, including lectures by designer Alessandra Branca and other prominent interior design personalities, to be announced. For up-to-date event info, shuttle details and to purchase tickets visit