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, some 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.