Courtesy John Unrue

According to recent data from Metrostudy, Lakewood Ranch, the 31,000-acre award-winning master-planned community in Sarasota and Manatee counties on the west coast of Florida, was number one in the US for annual housing starts for the third quarter of 2019.

The Ranch’s 1,467 new home starts exceeded those of other top-selling communities in Florida, Las Vegas, Arizona and California. And it’s not the first time the ranch has been in the pole position. “This is the second quarter in a row that LWR has claimed the top spot,” said David A. Cobb, regional director for the South Florida, Sarasota and Jacksonville regions of Metrostudy.

Anchor Builders at Lakewood Ranch, Fla.
Courtesy ADBE Anchor Builders at Lakewood Ranch, Fla.

Some of the nation’s top builders are working on the ranch’s 17 actively selling villages, including the three newest additions: Kolter’s Cresswind, The Palisades from Freedom Homes by D.R. Horton; and Woodleaf Hammock, featuring M/I Homes and Meritage Homes. Prices at the ranch range from $200K to a million with a mix that includes condominiums, paired villas, and single-family homes.

The buyers are coming from in-state, as well as New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland. At the ranch, more than 25% of new home sales come from existing homeowners who are on their second, third, and even fourth home. “As a community builder, this is a very rewarding statistic, as it tells us that our residents have truly made Lakewood Ranch their lifelong home,” said Laura Cole, senior vice president, LWR Communities, LLC.

The ranch is also trying to reach beyond home sales to keep customers satisfied by organizing social functions including an expanded farmers market, a “mindful triathalon,” a resident website, a directory of ranch-based businesses, cornhole leagues, food trucks, house tours and other club related events.