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Business Observer Monday, Jul. 19, 2021 3 months ago

Area community ranks No. 1 in U.S. for home sales through June

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Lakewood Ranch residential transactions are up 83% from the same time in 2020, survey of master-planned communities finds

A surge in residential sales in the first half of this year has catapulted Lakewood Ranch to No. 1 nationwide for master-planned communities, according to a new survey.

Real estate consultant RCLCO Real Estate Advisors’ survey found that Lakewood Ranch’s 1,535 new homes sales through June 30 increased 83% from the same period a year ago.

That performance elevated the 33,000-acre community, which straddles Sarasota and Manatee counties, to the top spot in the U.S. for the first time ever in the mid-year report by RCLCO, which has been ranking master-planned community sales since 1994.

The ranking isn’t totally without precedent, though. Lakewood Ranch has been the top multi-generational, master-planned community in the U.S. for the past three consecutive years, RCLCO notes, and one of the best-selling communities for homes over the past decade.

LWR Communities, a division of Lakewood Ranch master developer Schroeder-Manatee Ranch Inc., attributes the gains to heightened buyer interest stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The Ranch's maturity, locational assets, and multi-generational appeal drew buyers and their extended families and friends from all corners of the U.S.," says Laura Cole, an LWR Communities executive vice president, in a statement.

"Five new villages opened during the pandemic, offering greater home choices at all price points with outstanding amenities and access to open space and trails — key criteria sought by buyers fleeing more urban locations,” Cole adds.

Schroeder-Manatee Ranch President and CEO Rex Jensen says planning and execution continue to keep the community, which has been owned and guided by the same family since its inception over 25 years ago, atop national rankings.

"Lakewood Ranch has been a perennial pack leader by delivering the features which epitomize top selling MPCs: consumer centric homes, well integrated natural areas, abundant amenities and a vast array of lifestyle offerings," Jensen says, in a statement.

Cole notes that the community has added various amenities, including town centers, neighborhood shopping centers, its Medical Center, A-rated schools, over 120 miles of trails and activity centers, all of which have helped boost residential sales as well.

Moreover, more residential sales appear likely going forward.

This Fall, Schroeder-Manatee will open Waterside Place, the communities’ newest town center, and two new villages — Star Farms and Sweetwater — will be added by year’s end.

In 2020, RCLCO ranked Lakewood Ranch as the No. 2 master-planned community nationwide in terms of sales, with 2,149 homes sold — a 30% increase from 2019. The Villages in Central Florida took the top spot, with just over 2,500 sales.

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