An aerial view of Babcock Ranch in Punta Gorda, Florida. (Shutterstock)

An aerial view of Babcock Ranch in Punta Gorda, Florida. Babcock Ranch was in the top five of RCLCO’s top-selling master-planned communities for 2022. (Shutterstock)

Real estate consulting firm RCLCO has released the results of their semi-annual survey of the top-selling master-planned communities (MPCs) of 2022. RCLCO’s ranking is based on total new home sales as reported by each individual community and updates rankings from the mid-year report. RCLCO has been performing these extensive surveys of the nation’s MPCs for almost three decades, which have become an industry standard for monitoring the overall health of the housing market.

Key changes include:

  • New home sales among the 50 Top-Selling Master-Planned Communities declined by 20 percent in 2022 compared to the pace set by 2021’s top communities.
  • Rising interest rates and affordability issues, particularly in the second half of the year, have had a significant impact on visitor traffic and new sales. Supply chain issues and inadequate new home inventory have continued to pose problems for builders.
  • Sales in the second half of 2022 were 13 percent lower than the first half of the year, further highlighting the struggles faced by buyers as mortgage rates peaked above 7 percent in October.
  • The Villages active-adult community is once again the top-selling community in the nation with 3,923 sales in 2022, a 2 percent decline from their record pace set in 2021.
  • Sarasota, Florida’s Lakewood Ranch claimed the number two spot overall, and is the top-selling multi-generational community in the country, with 1,846 sales.
  • Hutson Companies Silverleaf community, near Jacksonville, Florida, has earned the third-place rank with 1,034 sales in 2022, an 11 percent increase over 2021.
  • Southwest Florida’s Babcock Ranch ranked within the top five for the first time with a 31 percent increase in sales.
  • The Houston MSA was the top-performing metropolitan area with 13 communities in the Top-50, representing nearly 6,000 sales, or almost 19 percent of all sales among ranked MPCs.
  • The state of Florida represented about 46 percent of sales among ranked communities, followed by Texas at nearly 30 percent.

RCLCO principal Karl Pischke said, “Master-planned communities, like the broader U.S. housing market, saw a decline in home sales in 2022 compared to their prior-year performance. The second half of the year in particular saw significant declines, correlated with rising interest rates, as top communities sold about 13 percent fewer homes than in the first half of the year. However, master-planned communities have historically increased their overall market share in times of economic turmoil, as consumers perceive that the quality of master-planned communities can provide a level of insulation from broader market trends. As such, optimism from MPC developers remains, even if additional softness in the market might be expected in the near term.”