SPRAWLING HOMES ON 6,000-square-foot lots are the norm in Gilroy, Calif., a farming community within commuting distance of Silicon Valley. Higher-density clustered dwellings on small lots were a new concept to the area, but one that proved appetizing to commuter couples, young families, and move-down buyers.

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Averaging 1,500 square feet, the brightly colored homes of Oak Commons maintain a farmhouse vernacular, but offer single-family detached living on a smaller scale. Tandem garages make the most of tight footprints, freeing up extra turf for outdoor living spaces. Starting at around $500,000, prices are about 30 percent below market for new construction in the area.

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Category: Cluster community; Entrant/Architect: KTGY Group, Irvine, Calif.; Builder/Developer/Land planner: O'Brien Group, San Mateo, Calif.; Landscape architect: The Ripley Design Group, Walnut Creek, Calif.; Interior designer: Taylor Roberts, Philo, Calif.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Los Angeles, CA.