Top 20 Master Planned Communities Midway through 2013

Posted in National Housing Market | Posted on 08-19-2013 | Written by Tom Hayden

What a difference a couple of years can make – Census-reported (seasonally adjusted) national annual housing starts were 836,000, a 10% gain over the 785,000 noted in June 2012 and a nearly 38% increase compared to two years ago.  This of course translates into increased activity with the top master planned communities (“MPCs”) and an even more competitive Top 20 in 2013.

To put this in perspective, a community starting 260 homes at the mid-point of 2011 ranked in the Top 20, this year their ranking would slide down to 53.  Based on Metrostudy’s quarterly lot-by-lot survey, the Top 20 MPCs started more than 14,900 homes in the past twelve months, a 35% increase over 2Q12 and 61% climb from 2Q11.  And with production driven by rising demand, whoever reaches this list must have land available and the means to deliver them.

Central Florida’s The Villages remains the top MPC in the country with 3,425 annual new home starts through 2Q13.  The Villages also delivered the most lots over the past twelve months, more than 1,500, which accounted for 45% of all annual lot deliveries in the Central Florida Market.

The biggest gains in starts activity were achieved by the Irvine Ranch in Orange County, California.  With the combination of their actively-selling villages, the Irvine Ranch posted more than a 121% gain in starts over the past twelve months.  Houston’s Riverstone community followed with a 113% increase and starts in Mountain’s Edge also rose by triple digits, at 102% within the Las Vegas Market.

(Note: Please click on the chart to view a larger image)


There were eight new additions to the list over the past 12 months (see chart). Those communities slipping out of the top 20 this year include: Shadow Creek Ranch, Brambleton, Bridgeland, Telfair, Trophy Club, Power Ranch, Lyons Gate, and Monterra.

Additional highlights from the Top 20 Master Planned Communities:

  • Texas swept half the spots on the list remaining the dominant location – particularly in Houston which nabbed eight spots. Additionally, Nevada and Florida each reported three communities, while Colorado and California each netted two.
  • 18 of the Top 20 MPCs started more homes during the past 12 months compared to the previous 12 months. This compares to two years ago when only 10 MPCs achieved gains in start production.
  • The largest year-over-year gain in start production were reported in the Irvine Ranch (+121%), followed by Riverstone (+113%), Mountain’s Edge (+102%), and Mountain House (+84%). The only declines among the top 20 MPCs were in Cinco Ranch (-11%) and the Woodlands (-24%).
  • Four of the communities on the list were less than 15% away from build-out through 2Q13: Highlands Ranch, Sienna Plantation, Cinco Ranch, and the Woodlands. Only two communities were less than 30% complete: Nocatee and Mountain House.
  • Three developers achieved multiple MPCs on the list: Johnson Development (all four MPC’s were in Houston), Focus Property Group (both in Las Vegas), and Shea Homes (one in Denver and one in the Central Valley).
  • With rising start production and lessening vacant developed lot supply, average pricing is on the rise. Average pricing among the Top 20 MPCs rose a combined 16% over the past year, and increased more than 24% compared to two years ago. Pricing rose sharpest within the Irvine Ranch (+36%), Mountain House (+31%), and Mountain’s Edge (+23%).

These results are based solely on the Metrostudy lot-by-lot housing survey. Results are not based on a phone survey to individual developers, nor homebuilders. Metrostudy’s independent survey monitors the supply of detached and attached homes on a quarterly basis. In most markets, our survey tracks all condominium, town-home, duplex, and single family construction activity. The survey allows us to consistently and accurately track the size of the total market, as well as supply and demand within various levels of each market. Further, it helps to establish the depth of each market and the scope of the competition. The information included within this report has been collected in the field by Metrostudy staff, driving and surveying every lot in every community, within each market surveyed. Rankings are based on the annual start activity of each master plan surveyed under this methodology.

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