The Number One Community in the US

HOUSTON – Ralph Bivins of Realty News Report: The latest episode of THE RALPH BIVINS PROJECT podcast features an interview with Gregg Logan, managing director of real estate consulting firm, RCLCO. 

To Listen to the Entire Podcast CLICK HERE

RALPH BIVINS: Welcome, this is Ralph Bivins with the Ralph Bivins Project. Today, we are going to find out which community is the Number 1 selling master-planned community in America. We have a lot of interesting stuff to tell you about this Number 1 selling master planned community. I’m sure a lot of people in Texas are familiar with it. Today, we are speaking with Gregg Logan, the managing director of RCLCO real estate consultants. He is a housing analyst, and he has just prepared the report on the 50 Top-Selling master planned communities in the country. RCLCO publishes a report twice a year and has just issued in analysis for the first half of 2022. It’s a big thing that everyone looks forward to, so this is a fresh look at fresh material. Welcome, Gregg, thank you very much for being here.

GREGG LOGAN: Thank you for having me, Ralph.

RALPH BIVINS: The Number 1 selling master-planned community, again, is The Villages, located near Orlando in Florida. Gregg, why are they doing so well?

GREGG LOGAN: Well, the overnight success at The Villages didn’t exactly take place overnight. My firm, RCLCO, has been tracking MPCs since the 1990s. The Villages has had a high place on that ranking for 10 years or so. But it took them a long time to get there. 

They started out in the early ‘90s, beginning fairly modestly. Once they had a critical mass in place, the trigger for them was when they began looking at what Del Webb had done in Arizona. They saw that Del Webb had created an entire world for retirees and had begun answering the critical question, “Where do you want to be when you retire?” They did it with recreational amenities, shopping, services and so forth. 

One thing they did very well was to make sure they included clubs, social activities, night life, bars, restaurants and bowling alleys to emphasize “me” time. The message of The Villages is: Come here and live a great life.

RALPH BIVINS: The Villages reported 1,500 home sales in the first half of 2022. That’s something. Now back to Houston. But first, what does the name RCLCO come from?

GREGG LOGAN: Robert Charles Lesser founded the company. When he retired, we kept his initials and continued as RCL Company, or RCLCO.

RALPH BIVINS: In your report for the first half of 2022, Houston placed 13 communities in RCLCO’s Top 50  master-planned communities.  That’s more than any other community in the country. How did Houston do that?

GREGG LOGAN: Houston has been a great market. If you looked at Houston during the Great Recession, it was not as badly impacted as other communities around the country, partly because it’s an energy capital. Houston has attracted a lot of new jobs recently.. As far as master-planned cities, 13 communities at the half-year is about a rate of 3,500 for the year. Twenty percent of Houston’s MPC sales are in the top 50 in our survey. Other states are big in the MPC market – California, Arizona, Florida and Texas.  Florida leads with about 36 percent of all MPC sales in the Top 50. Texas is at 34 percent. One thing helping Houston is the fact that it’s a little easier to assemble large tracts of land. You also have some great development companies – Johnson, Starwood Land, Howard Hughes. Johnson Development has been very active in that market for many years. A lot of people are looking to locate in master-planned communities. They’ll pay more to be in a place that has open spaces, recreational amenities and maybe a commercial center, an all-in-one community where all one’s needs are meet.

We do consumer research, and every couple of years, we do a poll where we ask people where they want to live. Without exception, for the past 10 years, more people want to live in the master-planned community type of environment. Many home builders have created some very nice subdivisions and other nice places to live. The master-planned community is slightly different. It is developed off a comprehensive vision, it may have more parks, open spaces and recreational facilities. We may mix in shopping or a commercial area. Houston is blessed by having more of these MPCs relative to communities in other parts of the country. There is more of a demand for them in Texas, and, therefore, more of a supply.

RALPH BIVINS: Some people are concerned about moving to Houston because the city has no zoning laws. But MPCs give people some peace of mind. They want to go to master-planned communities.

GREGG LOGAN: Houston, with development companies like Howard Hughes Corporation, Johnson and Starwood, offers one advantage through MPCs. The plans are flexible, but they are still based on a vision. You can see what will be locating near you in the future. The vision is very compelling to consumers.  One thing to notice, in times when the economy is challenged like 2008-2009, MPCs capture more of the market. Consumers look on these homes as a safer bet. They are places where your home is more likely to increase in value and not drop if there’s a recession.

To Listen to the Entire Podcast CLICK HERE

Gregg Logan’s biography

Gregg Logan joined RCLCO in 1979. During the past 30 years, he has worked with leading real estate developers, landowners, investors, builders and public sector entities, advised regarding the best development, investment and/or planning decisions for their real estate. His advisory work has included market evaluations and strategies for residential, commercial and mixed-use developments, town centers and suburban business districts and economic development studies for cities. Gregg, a graduate of UCLA, has taught real estate development at Georgia Institute of Technology, College of Architecture. 

July 28, 2022 Realty News Report Copyright 2022




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