Residential sales in top-performing master-planned communities began to rebound in 2010, reversing a severe decline that began in 2006. According to Robert Charles Lesser & Co., which surveys these communities every year, the top 10-selling communities sold more than 7,000 units last year. That was slightly above 2009’s level but still far below 2005’s peak, when more than 22,000 homes were sold.  

Master-planned communities are large-scale developments featuring a range of housing styles and prices, plus a mixture of non-residential land uses such as retail shopping, schools and offices, providing full-service environments in which to live, work and play. Some communities target specific buyers such as older adults, while other developments target a wider range of demographic and market segments.  

As usual, the top-selling master-planned communities were clustered in the Sunbelt, and two development firms – Newland Communities and Focus Property Group – each had two communities represented in 2010’s Top 10.

For ULI members in the residential industry, the 2010 survey, published this spring, offers a snapshot of master-planned development trends going forward. First, the vast majority of survey respondents – 85 percent – believe community home sales will continue marching upward in 2011, albeit only moderately. Second, community developers are still adjusting product lines – such as town centers, green building and smaller lots – to enhance their market capture.

Here are the Top 10 master-planned communities in terms of 2010 sales: 

Rank

Community Name

Developer

Market

2010 Unit Sales

1

The Villages

The Villages

Orlando, Florida

2,107

2

Villages of Irvine (The Irvine Ranch)

The Irvine Company

Orange County, California

965

3

Cinco Ranch

Newland Communities

Houston, Texas

816

4

The Woodlands

Woodlands Development Co.

Houston, Texas

786

5

Mountain’s Edge

Focus Property Group

Las Vegas, Nevada

644

6

Telfair

Newland Communities

Houston, Texas

406

7

Providence

Focus Property Group

Las Vegas, Nevada

378

8

Brambleton

Soave Enterprises

Washington D.C.

352

9

Sienna Plantation

Johnson Development Corp.

Houston, Texas

288

10

Stapleton

Forest City

Denver, Colorado

271

(Source: Robert Charles Lesser & Co.)