by Brigitte Surette
For the past year and a half, we’ve heard a great deal about how the real estate industry has been thriving – especially for homes and neighborhoods that come with wide open spaces. The trend toward living outside of urban areas isn’t going away any time soon. Among those top spots that buyers want are master-planned communities (MPC). From mid-sized to massive, these communities have so many amenities, they feel like their own city or town.
According to the real estate consulting firm, John Burns, “Master plans’ new home sales boomed across the country as work-from-home opportunities became permanent for many and commute times became a drudgery of the past.” The firm compiled a top 50 list of MPCs that had sales of at least 437 homes per community during 2020, the highest in their 10-year survey history.
The study revealed that a large migration of DC buyers settled in Charleston. New Yorkers trended toward South Florida while Chicago city-dwellers migrated to Tampa. Southern Californians chose Texas.
Laura Cole, senior vice president of Lakewood Ranch Communities, LLC, a company based in Florida said, “We are seeing more multi-generational relocations in Lakewood Ranch. COVID-19 unveiled weaknesses in senior services throughout the U.S. while at the same time strengthening bonds between families supporting each other during the pandemic.”
The 33,000-acre master-planned community in Sarasota and Manatee counties on the West Coast of Florida has over 42,000 residents and like many of these kinds of developments, has top-rated schools, medical, wellness and sports facilities, entertainment venues and shopping and dining. Lakewood Ranch took the No. 2 spot on the list, with sales of 2,149 in 2020, up 30 percent.
“Master planned communities that are mature enough to offer ‘plug and play’ recreation, medical, education, and dining and shopping have disproportionately benefitted from COVID migration patterns,” Cole said. “They attract people from metropolitan areas that are used to variety and choice while at the same time offering more access to open space and nature—two key criteria for many families that have moved during the pandemic.”
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