John Burns Real Estate Consulting just released their annual list of the 50 Top-Selling Master-Planned Communities of 2015.
This year, seven Florida communities made the list, compared to nine communities in 2014.
Florida ranks third behind Texas and California for number of communities on the list. Texas placed a remarkable 17 communities on the list this year, while California had 11.
Keep in mind that this list encompasses all Master-Planned communities, whether they are age restricted or not.
Despite being third on the list as far as number of communities, Florida still owns the top spot, with The Villages racking up 2,294 new home sales in 2015.
This is a 12% drop in the amount of homes sold there versus 2014. Most communities nearing completion tend to experience a slow-down in sales, and The Villages, with completion estimated in 2016-2017, was not immune to this trend.
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 seven top-selling communities in Florida of 2015.
The Villages – #1 in Florida, #1 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, then you're in the right place. I literally wrote the book on the place and you can get a free preview right here.
Nocatee – #2 in Florida, #3 Overall
Nocatee has been a fixture on the list for several years, and this year they crossed the 1,000 sales mark with 1,105 new home sales in 2015.
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.
Lakewood Ranch – #3 in Florida, #9 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 2015, Lakewood Ranch sold 535 new homes, a 13% increase over the year before.
Lake Nona – #4 in Florida, tied for #11 Overall
Lake Nona is a very popular Orlando area community close to plenty of amenities like shopping, restaurants, the Orlando International Airport and more. In 2016 the U.S. Tennis Association plans to open 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 500 new home sales in 2015, a 19% increase over the year before.
Viera – #5 in Florida, #22 Overall
Viera is a master-planned community on the east coast of Florida in the Melbourne area. Viera recorded a whopping 42% increase in sales over the year before, notching 410 sales in 2015.
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 our long-time readers Allison built a home in Viera recently, 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.”
Encore Club at Reunion – #6 in Florida, tied for #38 Overall
Situated just 5 minutes from Walt Disney World, Encore Club at Reunion targets people who want to enjoy their time at the Magic Kingdom and other area attractions without having to split their families up into multiple hotel rooms. Floorplans range in size from 5 bedrooms to a whopping 13 bedrooms and prices start in the $300k's.
Encore Club is a fully amenitized resort lifestyle community, and your home can be rented out to other vacationers when you're not using it.
With 289 homes sold in 2015, its clear this interesting model is working.
Ave Maria – #7 in Florida, tied for #40 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 283 new home sales at Ave Maria in 2015 is a 25% 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.
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.