Why it worked: Intense market research: doing the homework, buying the land right, and developing what the market needed--literally from the ground up.

* With the traditional-family market as the primary target, the community includes 20 acres for a middle school and a 10-acre park site.

* A host of product choices for first- and second-time home buyers, the executive market, retirees, and empty-nesters. Some neighborhoods feature 50- to 60-foot lots where entry-level homes include upscale touches and options, including smart wiring for electronics, double-paned insulated windows, and 12 SEER high-efficiency HVAC.

* Award-winning designs maximize views while ensuring privacy and include expansive picture windows adjoining fireplaces. Innovations include tech niches, flex spaces, oversized garages, and summer kitchens in the covered portions of the lanais.

* Port Orange has a quiet, small-town feel. The community is minutes from the beach, shopping, schools, and health care. For those in need of a big-city fix, Orlando and Jacksonville, Fla., are just an hour away.

* The builder offers a state-of-the-art design center, accompanied by an in-house custom pool company, for convenient, one-stop shopping.

Project Credits

Project: Waters Edge, Port Orange, Fla.; Sales started: April 1997; Sales through March 2003: 628; Units planned: 1,100; Price: $139,100 to $500,000; Unit size: 1,500 to 4,000 square feet; Architect/Builder/Developer: ICI Homes, Daytona Beach, Fla.; Architect/Landscape planner: Glatting, Jackson, Kercher, Anglin, Lopez & Rinehart, Orlando, Fla.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Orlando, FL.