Taylor Morrison has always believed in the Austin, Texas, market. An earlier incarnation of the company, Taylor Woodrow, started developing land there in 2000 and building homes in 2003. And it stayed during the downturn.
But in the past 20 months the builder has beefed up its land-buying, acquiring more than 2,000 lots in Texas’ high-tech capitol city.
“We are still seeing builders on the sidelines” hesitating to buy, said Tim Towell, the company’s Austin division president. “But we have made five acquisitions.” And it’s working on a couple more.
Most recently Taylor Morrison bought 472 acres of Reunion Ranch in Dripping Springs from Frank Krasovec, owner of Austin-based Norwood Investments. The company has not disclosed the sales price, but a sales brochure for the full 524-acre property listed the asking price as $27.5 million, according to the Austin Business Journal.
By this time next year Taylor Morrison plans to have started sales at Reunion Ranch and to have model homes on what’s now raw but entitled land, said Towell. A decision about whether to change the project's name has not been made.
The homes will be targeted for move-up market buyers with price points in the $300,000 to $500,000 range on 70- and 90-foot-wide lots. The rest of the ranch property is expected to be sold to a custom home builder.
Reunion Ranch fits into Taylor Morrison’s sweet spot. While other builders in the market moved toward first-time buyers, Taylor Morrison continued to target move-up, empty nester, and luxury buyers, said Towell.
Reunion Ranch is in the South Travis County sub-market, 16 miles from downtown Austin and a favored spot for upscale homes.
“When you look at home sales around Austin that submarket accounts for about 15 percent of all homes in that [$300,000 to $500,000] price range but the available lot supply there in that price range is only 3 percent,” said Adib Khoury, Taylor Morrison’s vice president of land resources in Austin. “Those numbers show a high demand in that submarket for quality homes in that price range but the lot supply is running out."
Reunion ranch is within a couple miles of Steiner Ranch and Circle C, two extremely successful master-plan communities. Unlike Circle C, however, the Reunion Ranch property has some hills and long-distance views of the Texas Hill Country. It includes a creek down the middle and a bluff. In addition to large lots, the master plan will include plenty of open space with every lot backing up to greenbelts. Trails through the community are also planned.
“This is a great opportunity for us to have,” said Towell.
Teresa Burney is a senior editor for Builder magazine.
Learn more about markets featured in this article: Austin, TX.