Depending on which prognosticators you read on what day, the jury seems to be out on whether Echo Boomers are ready to buy first homes or if they’ll just keep on bunking with mom and dad while kicking in for expenses. The New Home Company, founded in 2010, appears to be betting on some variation of the latter with Lambert Ranch, a gated, master-planned community of 169 compound-style homes. The company has broken ground on the 50-acre plot in Irvine that will house the community, which will include three distinct neighborhoods. The residences range from 2,700 square feet to 4,800 square feet and start at $900,000.

Home to an orange grove for the last century, Lambert Ranch was acquired from the Lambert family two years ago. (The Lambert sisters, in their 90s, still live on the land, and they’ll be staying put. The New Home Company has created the community around their property.)

With flexible spaces and varied floor plans, the homes answer to a variety of living scenarios, says Joan Marcus-Colvin, vice president of sales, marketing, and design for The New Home Company. By now, aging parents and boomerang kids are a familiar story to builders and developers, but Marcus-Colvin mentions several other situations where the flexible floor plans would be particularly useful, including adult siblings who want to raise their kids near each other, or families split by divorce who need to stay close by each other so the kids can be near both parents.

The New Home Company’s sales strategy is forward-thinking, too. While traditional setups are designed so that prospective buyers pass through the sales office and talk to sales reps, The New Home Company is offering autonomy. Upon arriving, clients will be handed an iPad and they’ll then go on a self-guided tour. "What inspired us is the experience that you have at the Apple store," explains Joan Marcus-Colvin. "The service is exceptional and people are there if you need and want them, but if you want to take your time and get to know the product on your own, that’s fine, too." She adds, "Why not apply that same model to selling homes?"

Lambert Ranch model homes are slated to debut in late April, with first move-ins slated for late October. Options exist for nine different floor plans, each with free-standing guest spaces that relate to the main house yet are separated from it, in a way that the company says "allows multigenerational living, space-sharing, and seamless movement between residences."

Amy Albert is a senior editor at Builder magazine.

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