Wyngate at Medford, an 80-acre active-adult community in southern New Jersey, opened in 2009, a difficult period for home builders and developers in general. But as of late May, the community had sold around 90 of its 233 houses, making Wyngate one of the state’s most successful housing projects.
The builder, Bob Meyer Communities, which is based in Medford, attributes this velocity to several factors, one of which is his company’s reputation in a market that it’s served for more than four decades.
Originally, the builder had planned to open Wyngate at Medford in 2006. “We were involved with the land plan and were going to develop it ourselves,” recalls Meyer. But as market conditions deteriorated, he backed out of that deal and instead struck a takedown option agreement with the landowners, who developed and sold the builder finished lots.
A few years earlier, Bob Meyer Communities had opened an age-targeted community in Atlantic City, N.J., called Blue Heron, which became a kind of test run for Wyngate. “It taught us a lot about [customers’] lifestyles,” says Meyer. The project included a “significant amount of research” into the active-adult/age-restricted market by attending seminars and visiting other builders’ communities. What emerged from this research was the portrait of a “diversified” group of customers “with varied lifestyles and housing needs,” says Meyer.
So when Wyngate was in the planning stages, the builder focused on creating house plans with flexible second floors. For example, one plan includes a second-floor that can accommodate a small family during a visit.
The community’s eight plans range from 1,724 square feet to 3,200 square feet, with base prices from $339,900 to $419,000. (The plans don’t have basements, which hasn’t been an impediment to sales in a market where customers usually want them.) Typically, buyers are ordering around $75,000 worth of options and upgrades, says Meyer.
“They have a superior product, compared to competitors’, and a great model,” says Al Trellis of Home Builders Network, the Mount Airy, Md.–based consultant, who has worked with Bob Meyer Communities for more than 15 years, including on the Wyngate project. Meyer notes that Trellis was instrumental in developing Wyngate’s product as well as sales and marketing materials. “He challenges us.”
Trellis and Meyer credit Wyngate’s success in part to the company’s associates who include its project manager Eric Voss, superintendent Jim Wigginton, and two young, aggressive salespeople. The second factor has been the community’s own sales momentum, which both men say has outpaced a market that’s served by K Hovnanian, Ryan Homes, DeLuca Homes, and Orleans Home Builders.
Meyer says he is currently in discussions with landowners for another property on which his company would build a Wyngate-like community, only with “slightly lower” price points.
John Caulfield is senior editor for Builder magazine.