John Burns Real Estate Consulting just released their annual list of the 50 Top-Selling Master-Planned Communities of 2016.
This year, 11 Florida communities made the list, compared to just seven communities in 2015.
Florida ranks third behind Texas and California for number of communities on the list. Texas placed a whopping 16 communities on the list this year, while California had 8.
Keep in mind that this list encompasses all Master-Planned communities, whether they are age restricted or not.
For the past several years, Florida has held the top spot, with The Villages far outpacing other communities in the country as far as sales are concerned.
But this year The Villages lost their top spot, dropping to #2 behind The Irvine Ranch out in California.
With 1,966 new home sales, The Villages experienced a 14% drop in the amount of homes sold versus 2015. The Irvine Ranch sold 1,989 new homes in 2016.
Most communities nearing completion tend to experience a slow-down in sales, and even though The Villages has picked up some additional buildable land, sales of those areas haven't kicked in yet.
Again, keep in mind that not all communities listed below are active-adult or even age-targeted communities, but I think you’ll agree that to some extent they each contain features and amenities attractive to the boomer/retirement demographic.
Let’s take a closer look at the 11 top-selling communities in Florida of 2016.
The Villages – #1 in Florida, #2 Overall
The Villages needs little to no introduction. This 55+ community about an hour north of Orlando has been the nation’s top-selling community for several years now, and its little wonder why.
Free golf for life on the 9-hole executive courses, free nightly entertainment in the three town squares, more than 2,000 organized clubs and activities, along with home prices that range anywhere from the $100k’s to over $1 million.
Over the years I’ve been fortunate to help thousands of retirees decide whether or not to call The Villages home. While its a great community with a fantastic array of amenities, it’s simply not for everyone. Some people say it’s too big. Others say too expensive. And some don’t like the location in the middle part of the state…they’d rather be near the coast.
If you’d like to learn why 100,000 retirees call this place home, and why thousands more decide it’s not for them, I literally wrote the book on the place and you can order your copy right here.
Nocatee – #2 in Florida, #3 Overall
Nocatee has been a fixture on the list for several years, and this year they just missed the 1,000 sales mark with 973 new home sales in 2016.
Nocatee is located in Ponte Vedra, which is in the Greater Jacksonville area, and is comprised of a number of neighborhoods from a variety of homebuilders including Del Webb, David Weekly Homes, ICI Homes and more.
Del Webb Ponte Vedra is a gated, 55+ section within Nocatee that features 2 to 4 bedroom designs between 1,157 and 2,885 square feet. If Northeast Florida is in your area of consideration, you should definitely check out Nocatee and the surrounding area.
West Villages – #3 in Florida, #4 Overall
The West Villages project, located in Venice, offers homes across all price points and primarily targets retirees and second-home buyers, but it has also attracted families due to the highly-ranked area schools.
The West Villages came to be when four separate communities combined to create one big master-planned community.
In 2016 they notched an impressive 848 new home sales.
Lakewood Ranch – #4 in Florida, #5 Overall
Lakewood Ranch in Sarasota has a variety of neighborhoods within, some that are family-oriented and others that are age-targeted. Much like The Villages in the way of home prices, you’ll find homes in Lakewood Ranch range from the $200k’s to over $1 million.
In 2016, Lakewood Ranch sold 775 new homes, a 45% increase over the year before.
I know that a few of my readers purchased homes in Del Webb at Lakewood Ranch last year.
Lake Nona – #5 in Florida, tied for #12 Overall
Lake Nona is a very popular Orlando area community close to plenty of amenities like shopping, restaurants, the Orlando International Airport and more. The U.S. Tennis Association recently opened a state-of-the-art training facility in Lake Nona with more than 100 tennis courts which will boost interest in Lake Nona in the coming years.
Lake Nona had 495 new home sales in 2016, which is just 5 less than they had in 2015.
Summerlake – #6 in Florida, #34 Overall
Summerlake is a family-friendly resort lifestyle community in Orlando. In 2016 they chalked up 348 new home sales, nearly doubling the amount of sales they had the year before.
Ave Maria – #7 in Florida, #35 Overall
Ave Maria is a master-planned community near Naples, that again, like some of the communities above, includes multiple neighborhoods from a variety of homebuilders.
The 342 new home sales at Ave Maria in 2016 is a 21% increase from the year before.
Del Webb Naples is the over-55 component and includes 2 and 3-bedroom floorplans ranging in size from 1,100 to more than 2,400 square feet. Prices currently start in the low $200k’s.
Exclusive to Del Webb Naples residents, the brand new Oasis Club is a world-class amenity center featuring over 12,000 square feet of entertainment and fitness space, resort and lap pools, tennis and bocce ball courts, café, art studio and an 18-hole championship golf course.
Waterset – #8 in Florida, tied for #38 Overall
Waterset by Newland Communities is a major Tampa-area master-planned community located 17 miles south of downtown Tampa and 10 minutes from the Tampa Bay shoreline.
The Waterset master plan covers more than 1,300 acres in Hillsborough County, including a lakeside café and recreation center, swimming and fitness facilities, a Montessori preschool, six acres of lush community parks and miles of greenways and recreational trails. The property is a few minutes west of Interstate 75 in the laid-back coastal community of Apollo Beach, providing easy access to destinations throughout the Tampa Bay, Bradenton and Sarasota areas.
Waterset had 315 new home sales in 2016, a 71% increase over the year before.
Viera – #9 in Florida, tied for #41 Overall
Viera is a master-planned community on the east coast of Florida in the Melbourne area. Viera recorded 313 sales in 2016.
One thing I like about its location is that its right by Cape Canaveral which gives you easy access to a number of cruise lines that depart from there.
One of my long-time readers Allison built a home in Viera a few years ago now, and in her own words here’s why they chose it:
“We chose Viera because of the proximity to the ocean, the rivers, and the fact half of the 14,500 acres is set aside for conservation. It has an open air shopping center, several parks and golf courses. The accessibility to the Cape for launches, cruise ships, etc. with I-95 close by. Viera is host to the Washington National Spring Training at its stadium and several other events. It has a VA Medical facility there, a new hospital and government offices situated there. We chose the age restricted community of Heritage Isle located there [because of] what we could get for the money, activities and amenities of that development by Lennar.”
Tradition – #10 in Florida, #46 Overall
Tradition is a Master-Planned community on the east coast of Florida that sold 301 homes in 2016.
While Tradition is home to all types of neighborhoods, there are active adult sections within it like Vitalia at Tradition being developed by Taylor Morrison.
Fishhawk Ranch – #11 in Florida, tied for #47 Overall
FishHawk Ranch is a fast-growing community outside of Tampa, Florida. While the community is open to people of all ages, active adult retirees may like it because they are able to take advantage of countless amenities such as a number of clubs and pools, sports complexes, fantastic shopping, and great dining selections.
FishHawk sold 300 homes last year versus 215 the year before.
Are any of these communities for you?
Keep in mind that “top-selling” does not always mean “best”.
Finding the best Florida community for you is a very personal decision that you can only come to after plenty of research and time spent visiting a number of communities that seem like they may be a fit.
In addition to the above communities, be sure to check out the many Featured Communities on our site.
While they don’t sell as many homes each year, we do find them to be among the most popular with our readers.