It takes more than a good location, a good price, and a good product to create a best-selling community these days. The process of getting a project to sell well at a time when buyers are constantly being told that buying a new house is a bad idea requires including something extra, the 13th bagel in a baker’s dozen, the second cherry topping a sundae, something that makes a buyer feel special, lucky, happy, smart.

That’s the lesson to be learned from some of the best-selling communities around. For all of them, success has come from delivering more than the ordinary and standard, whether it’s lower utility bills or a bowling alley in the basement.

Urban Suburban The sleek, clean look of urban lofts has migrated to the suburbs.

Photos: Chris Mayer


Aerie Lofts
Three-story homes with the look of urban high-rise lofts sell in the suburbs.

ColRich’s three-story models made COO Graeme Gabriel nervous at first. It wasn’t SolTerra’s expansive canyon or peekaboo ocean views from that height that made him queasy, but rather the worry that nobody would want to buy them. “People thought that in San Diego there is no way that anyone would have a three-story plan,” recalls Gabriel. View a slideshow and read more about this project.


Photos: Courtesy Meritage Group

Green in the Desert
Phoenix buyers snap up houses with tiny utility bills, thanks to high-tech solar.

Meritage Homes should not be selling houses this fast in this location. “Southwest [Phoenix] has been kind of the worst of the worst” housing market, says C.R. Herro, Meritage’s vice president for environmental affairs. Yet the Scottsdale, Ariz.–based company sold 14 homes in 2011’s first quarter at its Cortile at Palm Valley community in Goodyear. View a slideshow and read more about this project.


Photos: Frank Ooms, Frank Ooms Studios

Inspiring Spire
A Denver high-rise proves it is the right project even at the wrong time.

Spire, one of the fastest-selling condominium projects in the U.S. last year, almost didn’t happen. “It’s remarkable I’m talking to you now,” says Chris Crosby, executive vice president for Nichols Partnership, the project’s developer. View a slideshow and read more about this project.


Photos: Courtesy of Belgravia Group

565 Quincy may be the only condominium in town with a bowling alley in the basement.

Right Product, Right Price
A Chicago condo project became a perfect seller with one change—a smaller price tag.

“[The sales success] was really price-point driven,” says Kaufman. “Once we [lowered the prices], they just flew off the shelf. The people came …. We had the right location, the right amenities, the right layout.” View a slideshow and read more about this project.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: San Diego, CA, Phoenix, AZ.