LAKEWOOD RANCH — Florida buyers helped Lakewood Ranch set a new high in sales in early 2019.
The master-planned community posted a record 417 sales in the first quarter, a 7 percent increase over the year.
March also set an all-time monthly record with 170 sales.
Buyers from Florida accounted for about half of the sales, said Laura Cole, senior vice president of LWR Communities LLC. Of those, half come from within the region.
Tampa remains the ranch’s largest feeder market for young families, who buy here for proximity to job markets, A-rated schools and amenities, she said. Sales activity also has increased from Orlando and the east coast of Florida.
Buyers also are coming from the Northeast, with New York and New Jersey accounting for almost a quarter of all outside new home purchases. Sales also have grown with buyers from the Mid-Atlantic, including Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland, and from California.
Buyer traffic was up 10 percent in the first three months of the year, with more new, qualified buyers in the market.
“We, like most of the country, experienced buyer malaise in the fourth quarter of 2018,” Cole said. “The Federal Reserve’s announcement of its intent to keep short-term interest rates where they are for the rest of 2019 creates much needed stability and confidence. Also, there is no doubt that buyers from high-tax markets like New Jersey are accelerating their decisions to move to Florida and Lakewood Ranch.”
With few exceptions, she said sales increased for all villages and builders, including condo sales at Waterfront on Main Street, age-targeted and/or restricted Del Webb, Esplanade and Lakewood National, and multi-gen villages like Mallory Park and Savanna. Waterside in Sarasota County had its best month since opening with 16 sales in March.
The 31,000-acre community that spans Manatee and Sarasota counties is already home to more than 36,000 residents.