The sprawling community of Lakewood Ranch rose two places in the 2017 rankings of new home sales among the country’s top 50 master-planned developments.
Lakewood Ranch reached third place on new home sales, totaling 1,206, up from 775 in 2016 — a 56 percent increase year-over-year. The annual sales rankings are compiled by independent real estate consulting firms RCLCO and John Burns Real Estate Consulting.
The West Villages in south Sarasota County fell one spot to fifth on 2017 sales of 992 new homes, an increase from 848 in 2016 — a 17 percent upturn.
“These results validate our adherence to the fundamentals of quality, cleanliness and patience,” said Rex Jensen, CEO of Lakewood Ranch’s owner, Schroeder-Manatee Ranch Inc. “We’ve established a community with an unparalleled lifestyle and mix of living, work and recreational opportunities.”
The Villages of Villages, Florida, hopped over last year’s top seller to reach first place as Irvine Ranch fell to second. Six other master-planned communities in Florida remained in the top 50.
For Sarasota’s West Villages, Lesley Deutch, a principal for John Burns Real Estate Consulting and the company’s top authority on Southwest Florida, credited the continuing sales growth on “rapidly rowing” Sarasota County.
“Its relative value to other master-plans along Florida’s southwest coast continues to attract buyers.” Deutch said. “West Villages location in Venice also offers access to some of the country’s top beaches, and retail and entertainment options of downtown Sarasota.”
The strong growth in Lakewood Ranch over the years has played a vital role in the rise of the region. Jensen cites the key factors: “We’ve become the leading economic development engine in Sarasota and Manatee counties, having added more than $5 billion to the local tax base, not to mention more than 13,000 value added jobs.”
The 31,000-acre community has more than 1,350 businesses in diverse sectors such as biomedical, technology, insurance, and education and more than 4 million square feet of commercial real estate already in place.