Moving up and out

Austin area among top U.S. markets for home sales in master-planned communities

Austin among top U.S. markets for homes in master-planned communities

Santa Rita Ranch
Buyers are flocking to Santa Rita Ranch in Liberty Hill. Santa Rita Ranch Austin/Instagram

The Austin area — particularly the Capital City’s surrounding suburbs — is mastering the art of the master-planned community.

A report released January 4 by RCLCO Real Estate Advisors shows the Austin metro area was home to two of the 50 top-selling master-planned communities last year.

The two Austin-area communities on the list are:

  • Santa Rita Ranch, Liberty Hill, Mariner Real Estate Development, ranked 38th with 515 homes sold in 2021 (down 20 percent from 2020).
  • No. 40, Sunfield, Buda, Scarborough Lane, ranked 40th, with 504 homes sold in 2021 (down 15 percent from 2020).

“The boom in work-from-home demand drove record master-planned community sales in 2021,” according to John Burns Real Estate Consulting.

Gregg Logan, managing director of RCLCO, says the survey results indicate demand for new single-family homes in master-planned communities remains high, “with favorable demographic tail winds suggesting this strong demand will continue in 2022.”

However, lingering supply chain woes and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have hampered the ability of master-planned communities to capitalize on that demand, Logan adds.

“As these challenges are resolved in the coming months, we are optimistic for the success of master-planned communities in 2022,” he says.

Houston ranks first among all of the metro areas represented on the list. According to the survey, one-fifth of the country’s 50 top-selling master-planned communities last year are in the Houston metro area. Collectively, the 10 Houston-area communities in the top 50 sold 5,773 homes in 2021, according to RCLCO’s data.

In terms of the success of communities in the Houston area last year, Howard Hughes Corp.’s Bridgeland development in Cypress tops the list. According to the survey, Bridgeland sold 713 new homes last year, down 18 percent from 2020. The 713-home tally puts Bridgeland at No. 16 nationally for the most sales at master-planned communities last year.

Here’s how other major metros in Texas fared in the national ranking of 2021 home sales at master-planned communities

  • No. 20 (tie), Magnolia Point, Royse City, D.R. Horton, 660 homes sold (2020 data unavailable).
  • No. 41, Pecan Square, Northlake, Hillwood Communities, 502 homes sold, down 1 percent.
  • No. 42, Heartland, Heartland (near Forney), Huffines Communities, 482 homes sold (2020 data unavailable).
  • No. 43, Valley Ranch, San Antonio, D.R. Horton, 478 homes sold, down 9 percent.
  • No. 47, Union Park, Little Elm, Hillwood Communities, 460 homes sold, down 24 percent.

The top-ranked master-planned community in Texas is Hunt Communities’ Mission Ridge development in El Paso. Last year, the community sold 811 new homes, good enough for a No. 10 ranking in the U.S. The sales figure for 2020 wasn’t available.