Throughout the time President Trump was in office, one of the places with people most solidly for him was the master planned retirement community of The Villages in central Florida. News coverage of residents sailing boats with Trump signs, parades of golf carts with Trump banners, and other attention drawing events at The Villages made the retirement community nationally known. Apparently, that renown paid off in sales.
According to real estate consulting firm RCLCO, the top-selling Active Adult (over 55) community in the country, and the top selling master planned community in the U.S., is Central Florida’s The Villages, with 4,004 sales, 65% ahead of last year’s pace. This data comes from RCLCO’s recently released survey of the top-selling MPC (master-planned communities) for 2021. The ranking is based on total new home sales as reported by each individual community and establishes updated rankings from the previously year-end report.
This is a way to identify the most successful communities, but also a tool for monitoring the overall health of the for-sale housing industry, a means of locating markets with residential momentum, a process for highlighting trends affecting communities, and a medium through which to learn development best practices.
Home sales in the nation’s other 50 top-selling MPCs grew by a modest 5% compared to 2020, with a 14% decrease in sales during the second half of the year compared to the first. A lack of new home inventory despite the consistent and growing demand for new homes was generally cited as the reason for this modest growth by MPC developers, with supply chain disruptions, labor market tightness, and cost surges among the top reasons given for the inventory shortages.
Besides The Villages, Sarasota’s Lakewood Ranch is the top-selling all-ages community in the nation with 2,574 sales and Las Vegas, Nevada’s Summerlin earned the third-place rank with 1,619 sales.
Optimism is strong for 2022, which could be a big year for MPCs if supply chain issues resolve and allow communities to capture more of the growing demand for new homes. Both inflation and the rate of increase in new home prices are expected to moderate in 2022, though both are likely to remain high for the first half of the year.
RCLCO finds a tight labor market has also played a role, with some communities noting the challenges involved with multiple builders “competing” not just for homebuyers, but for the workers needed to deliver new homes. These factors have ultimately led to a further tightening of new home inventory at MPCs across the country, with developers of Top-Selling communities noting that it is not uncommon for there to be less than a handful of homes readily available for sale at any given time.
As the pandemic enters its third calendar year, new concerns are materializing about the potential impact of the Omicron variant on the supply chain disruptions and labor market issues noted above. Prior to the prospect of an Omicron COVID-19 wave this winter, continuing strong economic growth was predicted to keep pressure on labor markets. While that is still the most likely scenario, a new COVID-19 wave driven by Omicron could impact economic demand in certain sectors as in the past, i.e. hotels and restaurants, travel and tourism, etc., causing further economic headaches in addition to continued labor shortages.
In addition to this ranking and report, RCLCO prepared an interactive map tool which visualizes the sales at Top-Selling MPCs across the country from 2013-2021. Through this visualization tool, it is clear to see that Florida, Texas, and California represent the largest share of home sales among the top-selling communities.
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