Top 50 Master Planned Communities: Houston Shines in RCLCO Rankings

HOUSTON – (By Dale King, Realty News Report) – Texas and Florida are longtime rivals in the annual battle for ranking among the Top 50 Master-Planned Communities in America, a new-home sales report tallied by the RCLCO real estate consulting firm.

“Home sales in the nation’s Top 50 MPCs exceeded expectations in the first half of 2021, with a pace that indicates the potential for a 12% increase at year’s end compared with 2020,” says the real estate firm’s mid-year report written by Gregg Logan, managing director for RCLCO, and Karl Pischke, vice president.

Boosted by low mortgage rates and increased demand from Millennials, home construction has been strong in 2021. Home builders in Texas, and elsewhere, have reported shortages of lots and building materials. Some builders have long waiting lists.

When the RCLCO firm released the results of its national survey of the top selling MPCs for new home sales as of mid-year 2021, the Lone Star and Sunshine states (Texas and Florida) dominated the list and were not far apart.

10 Houston Master Planned Communities (MPCs) in Top 50 List

But the biggest winner among the few dozen municipal contenders on the lengthy list is Houston, which placed 10 of its MPCs in the top 50 to nail down 20 percent of the available spots on the list.

In all, RCLCO determined that 10 MPCs in Houston, seven in Dallas and one each in El Paso and Austin made it into the top 50 for a grand total of 19. This outdid Florida, which placed a total of 13 MPCs into RCLCO’s grand tally.

But Florida – with a little help from Nevada – wouldn’t let sleeping dogs lie. The RCLCO mid-year report for 2021 says 75% of sales within the Top 50 occurred in Florida, Texas and Nevada. Florida was the top-ranked state in terms of total sales with 34%, followed by Texas with 30%.

Florida rubbed a bit of salt in the wound by taking first (Lakewood Ranch in Sarasota with 1,535 sales, up 83 percent) and second place (The Villages with 1,226 sales) in the Top 50. Third place went to Summerlin, a Howard Hughes development in Las Vegas. The first Texas community on the list is ninth-ranked Mission Ridge in El Paso, a development constructed by Hunt Communities, and which sold 466 units during the first half of 2021.

Balmoral No. 1 in Houston; Bridgeland No. 2

The first Houston finisher is Balmoral, ranked 11th, an MPC in Houston that has sold 458 homes so far this year compared to 409 in the comparable period of 2020. Balmoral, a northeast Houston project with a Crystal Clear Lagoon, was developed by Land Tejas, a Houston firm.

The two-acre lagoon attraction with clear, light blue water, may have been enough to push Balmoral’s sales ahead of Bridgeland’s, which had been No. 1 in Houston.

Houston Leaders

Other Houston and Houston metro communities and their rank for the first six months of 2021 are:

  • Bridgeland, in Cypress, number 13. In all, 440 new homes sold there during the first half of 2021 compared to 425 in the first half of 2020. The community is being developed by Howard Hughes Corp.
  • Tamarron, in Katy, number 16. In all, 407 new homes sold there so far this year compared to 327 at midyear last year. It was built by D.R. Horton.
  • Sierra Vista/Sterling Lakes, in Arcola, number 19. In all, 397 houses sold this year compared to 261 in the first half of 2020, up a whopping 52%. The development was also built by Land Tejas.
  • Sienna, in Missouri City, number 25. In all, 344 units sold this year compared to 298 last year. The MPC was built by Johnson Development/Toll Brothers.
  • Lago Mar, in Texas City, number 35. In all, 297 homes sold so far this year, compared to 216 in first half of 2020. Land Tejas is the developer.
  • Breckenridge Forest, in Spring, number 36, and built by D.R. Horton. To date, 290 units have been sold this year, the first time is made the Top 50.
  • Meridiana, in Rosharon, on the south side of Houston, number 38, developed by Rise Communities. So far this year, 285 houses sold compared to 157 in the first half of 2002, a hike of 82%.
  • Cross Creek Ranch, in Fulshear, number 41, and built by Johnson Development Corp. A total of 282 units sold this year compared to 230 at midyear of last year.
  • Woodforest, in Montgomery, number 48, and also built by Johnson Development Corp. A total of 265 homes were sold in the first half of 2021.

The other Top 50 communities in Texas are:

  • Woodcreek, in Fate, (Dallas metro), number 29, developed by SouthStar Development and PMB Capital. A total of 322 new homes sold this year.
  • Santa Anita Ranch, in Liberty Hill, Texas (Austin metro), number 32, built by Mariner Real Estate. A total of 307 units sold so far this year.
  • Wildcat Ranch, in Crandall, Texas (Dallas metro), number 38, built by Sessions Development and PMB Capital. A total of 285 units sold this year.
  • Harvest, in Argyle, Texas (Dallas metro), number 40, developed by Hillwood Communities. A total of 283 houses sold year, up 78% from last year’s 159.
  • Union Park, in Little Elm, Texas (Dallas metro), number 42, also built by Hillwood Communities. A total of 279 units sold this year, down 8% from last year’s midyear total for the year of 304.
  • Viridian, in Arlington, Texas (Dallas metro), number 47, built by Johnson Development Corp. A total of 265 homes sold this year.
  • Pecan Square, in Northlake, Texas (Dallas metro), number 50, built by Hillwood Communities. A total of 259 units sold this year, down 2% from last year’s midyear total of 263.

The Outlook for the Remainder of 2021

“We expect the demand for new homes to continue to be strong for the remaining months of 2021,” the RCLCO report says, “which bodes well for MPC developers that can meet that demand. This is a particularly important caveat, given the supply chain constraints that have been a significant challenge for builders in many communities.”

“Another key issue moving forward is likely to be housing affordability, as the confluence of strong demand, limited supply and rising materials cost has led to significant increases in the price of new homes.

“While we expect the current supply chain constraints will be gradually resolved over the next one to two years, it remains unclear how significantly this price appreciation will impact sales of the Top 50 MPCs moving forward,” RCLCO said.

Every year since 1994, RCLCO has conducted a national survey identifying the top-selling master-planned communities through a search of high-performing communities in each state.

July 13, 2021 Realty News Report Copyright 2021

For more about Texas real estate, check out the book Houston 2020: America’s Boom Town – An Extreme Close Up  by Ralph Bivins. Available on Amazon  

 Houston 2020 Ebook version     

Photo: By Ralph Bivins. Realty News Report. Copyright 2021

File: Top 50 Master Planned Communities


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