By John Hielscher, Staff Reporter, Sarasota Herald Tribune, 10/31/19
Two local communities among US leaders in housing starts.
Two of Southwest Florida’s master-planned communities have again been ranked among the nation’s leaders in housing starts.
Lakewood Ranch was No. 1 in the U.S. with 1,467 annual home starts as of the third quarter, according to a new report from data supplier Metrostudy.
That marked the second straight quarter that Lakewood Ranch topped the national list for new starts.
The 31,000-acre community, which spans the Manatee-Sarasota County line, outpaced The Villages in central Florida by 151 homes for the lead, Metrostudy said.
The West Villages, the 9,650-acre community between Venice and North Port in south Sarasota County, ranked seventh nationwide with 843 annualized starts.
Eight master-planned communities in Florida were listed in the top 25, including Nocatee in Jacksonville; Tradition in Port St. Lucie; Story Lake in Kissimmee; Latitude Margaritaville in Daytona Beach; and Starkey Ranch in Tampa.
Location is only part of Lakewood Ranch’s sales success, Laura Cole, senior vice president, LWR Communities,LLC, said in a statement.
“Our multigenerational approach and diversity of neighborhoods, as well as an ever-growing list of daily conveniences and social engagement opportunities, put us above and beyond other communities,” she said.
The ranch now has 17 actively selling villages. Home prices throughout range from $200,000 to more than $1 million.
At midyear, Lakewood Ranch ranked second and West Villages was third for home sales in a report by real estate consultant RCLCO.
Buyers in Lakewood Ranch come from across Florida, according to LWR Communities, as well as from the Northeast and mid-Atlantic. Over 25% of buyers are existing homeowners who are on their second, third or fourth purchases there.
Lakewood Ranch’s 22nd annual Tour of Homes runs through Nov. 17.