Why it worked: Low price point, multiple floor plans, and desert amenities are attracting first-time buyers to this high-density, mini-master planned community in fast-growing southwest Las Vegas.

* Starter homes at $146,950 to $188,990 in a neo-European style are attracting first-time buyers and single parents to this 40.3-acre development. The smaller Courtyards product offers five models with two to three bedrooms. The larger Verandas offers five models with two to four bedrooms.

* Low-maintenance desert yards, with narrow setbacks on three sides of each home, are landscaped with rocks.

* Those with a turf craving can head to the development's grassy common areas: two large parks. Other amenities include two swimming pools with pool houses and a pavilion with picnic tables.

* Each home includes a full package of kitchen appliances, window treatments, and a washer and dryer. Competing developments often offer less and at a higher price point--the low $200s is common for starter homes in the area.

* Buyers are upgrading their floors to ceramic or upgraded vinyl, and they're adding cable, phone, and electrical outlets to the major rooms and the garage.

Project Credits

Project: The Peaks, Las Vegas; Sales started: September 2003; Sales through December 2003: Verandas, 97; Courtyards, 108; Units planned: 533; Price: Verandas $178,990 to $188,990; Courtyards $146,950 to $154,950; Unit size: Verandas 1,432 to 1,653 square feet; Courtyards 1,124 to1,234 square feet; Developer/Builder/Architect: Astoria Homes, Las Vegas; Interior designer: Ryan Young Interiors, Livermore, Calif.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Las Vegas, NV.