LAKEWOOD RANCH, Fla. (December 6, 2017) - Lakewood Ranch hit a milestone with 1,050 sales year-to-date in 2017, a figure that surpasses the previous highest of 1,023 in 2004, which was in the midst of the housing boom. The number is some 50 percent higher than 2016’s totals at this point in the year.
The numbers pleased Schroeder-Manatee Ranch, Inc. president and CEO Rex Jensen, but were no surprise. Jensen cited an improving economy, high consumer confidence, job growth, the addition of national builders, and the continuous opening of many new communities as the bases of success. He also pointed to SMR’s commitment to adding schools ahead of residents, and the success of the Premier Sports Campus, as contributors.
“Our focus on the fundamentals of rigorous and meticulous maintenance and care has created a pristine community,” Jensen said, “which affords homeowners pride in their community and sustains property values, even at the Ranch’s 22-year mark.”
Other factors, he said, were more subjective. “The Lakewood Ranch lifestyle is an extraordinarily strong sales driver,” Jensen said. “There is an active, vibrant, participatory community here to which many residents and businesses have contributed. Educational opportunities exist from preschool through advanced degrees. There are more than 50 clubs to join, and more than 15 places to worship. Activities, events and festivals abound. People who move here almost instantly feel like they’ve lived here their whole lives.”
News of the record sales comes on the heels of record attendance numbers for this year’s annual Tour of Homes event, held Oct. 20-Nov. 19.
The Tour saw an impressive rise in traffic to the community over the duration of the event, compared to 2016. Overall onsite traffic during the Tour was close to 3,000 visitors, up 18% over last year’s event. The models saw an increase of 91%, and new registrations saw a bump as well.
“We are very encouraged by the 32% increase in new traffic over last year’s Tour of Homes,” said Laura Cole, VP of marketing for LWR Communities. “This bodes well for future sales.”
The Ranch is seeing more buyers from surrounding communities, including Venice, Sarasota, and Bradenton. “Time and time again we’re hearing the comment ‘Lakewood Ranch is our go-to place for entertainment, restaurants, and recreation – so why not live there!’” Cole said.
Another trend is young families following parents who retired here in the past decade or so. Quality of life, schools, and affordability are superior to where they are living – many from the Northeast. They can live in a multi-generational community that offers activities and support, Cole said.
Proximity to jobs, transportation, shopping, schools, hospitals, and nearby beaches continue to draw buyers of all ages, Cole said. “However buyers have consistently referenced the abundance and accessibility of trails and open space as one of the top amenities they’re looking for. Lakewood Ranch shines in that area.”
Another source of excitement for future buyers was the much-anticipated opening of Lakewood Ranch Waterside, the newest village at the Ranch, located in Sarasota County. LWR Waterside features single-family homes, and will soon offer townhomes and apartments—all nestled among seven lakes, with walkability to the new village center, Waterside Place.
The notable sales and Tour of Homes numbers are a culmination of other firsts, including being named the fourth best-selling, master-planned community in the country for 2016; rising to third during the mid-year rankings, and having sold its 10,000th house in early 2017.
Lakewood Ranch is the 31,000-acre award-winning master-planned community in Sarasota and Manatee counties on the West Coast of Florida. Just minutes from the Gulf Coast beaches and cultural assets in Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch is already home to more than 25,000 residents and features A-rated schools, a hospital, the Sarasota Polo Club, the 75-acre Premier Sports Campus, its own Main Street with theaters, shopping and dining, and more than four million square feet of commercial property.