With 826 new home sales halfway through 2018 — an increase of 33 percent from last year — Lakewood Ranch has moved into second place among the fastest-selling communities in the United States.
Last year, Lakewood Ranch had 622 sales through June, ranking it third in the nation, according to Maryland-based real estate consulting firm RCLCO.
The Villages, outside Orlando, continues to hold the No. 1 spot on the RCLCO top-selling list with 1,115 home sales through June, a 13 percent increase from the same time in 2017.
Lakewood Ranch moved past the previous second-place holder, Orange County, California’s Irvine Ranch, which fell to fourth place.
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Las Vegas' Summerlin community moved into third place in sales with 772, an increase of 64 percent.
Florida placed a third community in RCLCO's top five list: North Port's West Villages ranked fifth with 648 sales, up 23 percent.
Lakewood Ranch's rise in the RCLCO rankings has been aided by the opening of neighborhoods within the community’s 16th phase, Waterside. The new village is located on the southern edge of the master-planned community and is oriented around several lakes.
Despite the ascent of Lakewood Ranch home sales and increasing development in the Parrish area, single-family home inventory in Manatee County remains tight.
"It shows the strength of the Florida real estate market and how it continues to grow," said Greg Owens, president of the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee.
"If you think about all the growth in Manatee-Sarasota, new communities are being added to meet that demand. We are very tight with inventory. The builders are the ones who are here to fill that gap," Owens said.
Lakewood Ranch’s improvement over its mid-year sales in 2017 is also due to successful market segmentation — the targeting of various age, income and household segments with appropriately priced and designed residential product types and lifestyle amenities — filling multiple market niches, RCLCO officials said.
The Ranch thrives because it embodies small-town living with big city conveniences, said Laura Cole, vice president of marketing for Lakewood Ranch.
“There are vibrant and varied shopping districts, unique sporting venues such as the Premier Sports Campus and the Sarasota Polo Club, a hospital-the Lakewood Ranch Medical Center, and A-rated public schools," Cole said.
“More than 24 years into its development, the Ranch conveys a profound sense of ranch town life, a relaxed well-being that is gracious and hospitable to everyone.”
More than half of the community’s 31,000 acres is open space, including 45 percent for nature and close to 10 percent for recreation.
“The Ranch is sensitive to and integrated with its surroundings and history,” Cole said. “This makes it unique and authentic.”
There are more than 20 builders with upwards of 70 models, with prices ranging from the $200,000s to more than $5 million.
Sales in Lakewood Ranch are coming from throughout Florida, including an influx of buyers from Tampa, Orlando and the east coast, as well as New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Illinois and the mid-Atlantic. People are also coming in increasing numbers from Georgia and California.
Lakewood Ranch has more than 4 million square feet of commercial development and entitlements for up to 14 million square feet. Some 2,600 acres have been set aside for future development and mixed-use, campus-style business parks, including CORE, a site for national life sciences and health care companies.
For more information about Lakewood Ranch, visit www.lakewoodranch.com.