In sales numbers that look like a blast from the past, Loudoun County, Va.’s Brambleton community averaged nine home sales a week last year.
The 2,2000-acre master-planned community even broke its own 10 years of sales records last year when it sold 454 new homes—209 single-family and 245 townhomes—up 29% from 2010, the community’s developer Soave Enterprises reported. Those numbers made it the eighth top selling community in the country, the company said.
“We feel pretty comfortable with where we are today,” said Kim Adams, Brambleton’s marketing director. The community is selling so fast that “we certainly don’t want to sell any faster than we are right now. … Now we are actually keeping in pace [with lot development]. We have some lots out in front of us, but not a whole lot.” The community, with approvals for 8,181 homes, is close to half complete.
Adams acknowledges that Brambleton is blessed with being in a market that has remained much more robust than others in the country. Residential permits issued in Loudoun County in 2011 were close to what they were in 2006, the biggest year for the county in the last five, according to county numbers. “Being outside of D.C. absolutely has been a blessing and a godsend,” Adams said.
At the same time, Brambleton’s products and location have helped it stand out in the crowd of Loudoun County developments. Brambleton’s zip code accounted for a third of all the building permits issued in the first 11 months of 2011, according to county numbers.
Adams gives the developer’s six builders, including Beazer Homes, Camberley Homes, Miller & Smith, Pulte Homes, Van Metre Homes, and Winchester Homes, credit for some of the success for reworking their products during the downturn to make them more appealing to today’s buyers.
“The consumer out there is still going to look for innovative new homes,” she says. “We have really been fortunate for the last several years to make our product different, and that is really capturing attention.”
The average single-family detached home in Brambleton sold for $618,000 and the average townhome went for $402,000 last year, Adams said.
Townhomes, situated near Brambleton’s town center—which includes more than 40 specialty stores, services, restaurants, a grocery store, and theaters—have been selling so well that in 2012 the developer has plans to ask the county to revise its plan to replace some of the office space it planned for the center with townhomes instead, creating a more people-dense town center that should help the local merchants. No increase in the number of units is planned in the changes.
Local office space is more likely to want to be located closer to the nearby toll road and metro station anyway, Adams said.
Teresa Burney is a senior editor for Builder magazine.