National real estate consulting firm ranks Lakewood Ranch as a top-10 selling community

Sarasota, Fla. (February 22, 2013) – For the second year in a row, Lakewood Ranch has been recognized as one of the top 10 best-selling, master-planned communities in the country.

Both California-based John Burns Consulting and Maryland-based RCLCO have ranked Lakewood Ranch as one of the top-selling master-planned communities in the United States. Coming in at No. 8 in one survey and No. 9 in the other, Lakewood Ranch outpaced many other recognizable and well-known communities in Colorado, Nevada, Washington, D.C., Texas and Florida.

Rex Jensen, president and CEO of Schroeder-Manatee Ranch, Inc., the developer of Lakewood Ranch, credits the widely varied offerings of the community with its continued growth. “With the success of our commercial properties, our Main Street shopping area, the Premier Sports Campus and Sarasota Polo Club, it’s clear that Lakewood Ranch continues to be the premier new-home destination on Florida’s West Coast,” said Jensen. “That is definitely translating into more visitors, which in turn means more sales.”

There were, in fact, more than 30,000 visits to the Ranch’s information centers and models in 2012, which translated into 573 new home sales, up from 391 in 2011 – an increase of 182 units, or a 47% increase year-over-year.

Also, in January of 2012, the newest apartment project (Lost Creek Apartments, with 272 units) began leasing and obtained 100% occupancy in just less than eight months – more than 2,000 people moved to Lakewood Ranch in 2012!

The “uptick” in sales was across the board in all product categories, according to Jimmy Stewart, vice president of sales for LWR Communities. “We did experience additional absorption due to the opening in January of our first ‘active adult community,’ Esplanade by Taylor-Morrison,” he said. “We also experienced a 45% increase in sales in our ultra-luxury community, The Lake Club, where the average price in 2012 was north of $1.2 million.”

In 2012, Stewart said, new homes comprised 61% of sales in Lakewood Ranch. There are currently 238 homes in various stages of construction, and Stewart said he expects the trend to continue, with the success of Esplanade’s active adult product, Country Club East’s new neighborhoods, and Central Park. Lennar’s Bridgewater product will open this year, he said, replenishing the diminishing stock of traditional single-family product. The ultra-luxury market, which began picking up speed in 2012, is predicted to be another strong market segment for Lakewood Ranch.

Stewart also noted that only 1.39% percent of the existing 8,000 homes in Lakewood Ranch are for sale, thus creating a higher demand for new product. The sales statistics for January of this year seem to support his predictions: there were 60 sales last month, a 172% increase over January of 2012, with more than 68 percent of the sales coming from Esplanade and Country Club East.

This is the third year that John Burns Real Estate Consulting has ranked top-selling U.S. master plans; RCLCO has been ranking master-planned communities since 1994.

Lakewood Ranch
Lakewood Ranch is the 17,500-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 18,000 residents and features A-rated schools, a hospital, the Sarasota Polo Club, a 75-acre sports complex, its own Main Street with theaters, shopping and dining, and four million square feet of commercial property.

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