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Master-Planned Communities Ride Wave of Demographic Trends

National  + Weekender  | 

For an illustration of the growth in single-family home sales during the COVID-19 pandemic, take a look at RCLCO’s annual ranking of the top 50 master-planned communities (MPCs).
Aside from a couple of outliers that saw annual declines, the top 50 MPCs enjoyed total sales volume 20% greater than in 2019. At properties with same-store figures for 2019 and 2020, the year-over-year increase averaged 40% and ranged as high as 121%.

That being said, RCLCO’s latest report cautions against putting too much weight on the effects of the pandemic. “It makes sense that many would attribute the defining characteristic of this year (a global pandemic) as the cause of everything that made this year unique – including the record setting pace of new homes sales not seen since the mid-2000s,” says RCLCO.

“However, the speculation that the record sales pace was primarily driven by households fleeing higher-density urban areas to lower-density suburbs as an escape from COVID is not supported by the data. While it is true that the health crisis has driven some consumers to act, there are longer term trends at play.” These trends were accelerated by the pandemic, rather than created by it, says RCLCO.

Those key trends include demographic shifts, low interest rates and very low levels of resale inventory which combined have dramatically boosted new home demand. RCL says these factors have had more overall impact than COVID-19 concerns in driving the market, although the pandemic has clearly encouraged some buyers to act sooner to obtain the housing they desire.

Florida and Texas together account for about 63% of total sales among the 50 top-selling communities. Florida continues to dominate the top five of the list, with The Villages, Lakewood Ranch, and Wellen Park in the first, second, and fourth spots, respectively.

Among metropolitan areas, the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX MSA ranks as the top-selling area, both in terms of total communities within the Top-50 (eight MPCs), as well as total sales with over 5,000 homes sold among the 50 top-selling MPCs.

Photo courtesy of The Villages.

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About Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny serves as Senior Content Director for Connect Commercial Real Estate, a role to which he brings 13-plus years’ experience covering the commercial real estate industry and 30-plus years in business-to-business journalism. In this capacity, he oversees daily operations while also reporting on both local/regional markets and national trends, covering individual transactions across all property types, as well as delving into broader subject matter. He produces 15-20 daily news stories per day and works with the Connect team and clients to develop longer-form content, ranging from Q&As to thought-leadership pieces. Prior to joining Connect, Paul was Managing Editor for both Real Estate Forum and at American Lawyer Media, where he oversaw operations at both publications while also producing daily news and feature-length articles. His tenure in B2B publishing stretches back into the print era, and he has served as Editor in Chief on four national trade publications. Since 1999, Paul has volunteered as the newsletter editor of passenger rail advocacy groups (one national, one local).

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