Housing MarketReal Estate

Master-planned community sales ticked up in the first half of 2023

The Villages in Florida remained #1 in the country

New home sales among the “50 Top-Selling Master-Planned Communities” increased by 7% in the first half of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022, according to a study by RCLCO Real Estate Consulting.

Master-planned communities have been gaining steam since their invention in the 1960s. Usually built by one developer, they are large, custom-built residential communities that include a number of recreational amenities for residents. 

In the sales ranking, The Villages, a retirement community located in Central Florida, was the top-selling community in the country, with an estimated 1,960 sales in the first six months of 2023. It was the same exact number of sales as recorded at this time in 2022.

Florida’s Lakewood Ranch claimed the second spot with 1,227 sales, a 20% increase over last year at this time. Sunterra, located just outside Houston in Katy, Texas, came in third with 669 sales, 49% increase in sales since last year.

D.R. Horton, the country’s largest national homebuilder, appeared on the list four times. All of its communities were in Texas. Land Tejas, owned by Starwood Capital Group, appeared on the list three times and was the developer behind Sunterra.

Houston was the top-performing metropolitan area with 14 communities in the Top 50, representing over 5,000 sales, or almost 26% of all sales among ranked MPCs. The state of Florida represented about 42% of sales among ranked communities, followed by Texas at nearly 38%.

This uptick in MPC sales represents a turnaround, pointing to the strength of the new home sales market. Recently, homebuilders have been feeling very confident and permit demand for future construction rose to a 12-month high in June on the weakness of the existing home sales market and low inventory.

Most MPC developers remain optimistic about the second half of 2023, according to RCLCO. In spite of elevated interest rates and a looming recession, developers remain confident that MPCs will preserve their strong appeal for consumers. However, while some builders have pulled back on incentives, about 60% are still using incentives to stimulate new home sales. 

RCLCO has conducted a national survey identifying the top-selling master-planned communities (MPCs) since 1994. Each year, the consulting firm reports the annual sales among the Top-50 communities at the end of the year, and publishes its mid-year update in July.

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