Lakewood Ranch Looks En Route to Banner 2014


Lakewood Ranch (LWR) appears well en route to maintaining its lofty stature among the top 10 best selling master planned communities in the U.S. In 2013, Lakewood Ranch was ranked ninth in the list of the country’s best-selling master planned developments compiled by the John Burns Real Estate Consulting.

As of August, some of LWR’s first-run inventory has already been sold out, in effect providing increased demand for resale homes in the 17,500-acre Lakewood Ranch enclave. Sold-out villages in Lakewood Ranch include Edgewater, Greenbrook, Riverwalk and Summerfield, according to the LWR website.

Inventory squeeze amid rising prices

Lakewood Ranch Looks En Route to Banner 2014

Notably, the sell-out in these communities and its resulting squeeze on the inventory of Lakewood Ranch homes for sale came amid a regime of rising residential prices. These factors combine as a strong encouragement for sellers to get into the market, many realtors believe. The consensus among these agents is that home prices have risen from the ebb reached during the Great Recession to the point that homeowners who bought during the 2005 market peak are convinced that now is an opportune time to sell.

In July 2014, the median sale price for single family homes sold in Sarasota stood at $201,000, up 3% from June and about 6% above the year-earlier level of $189,900. The July 2014 condo median price in Sarasota was $205,000, 5.1% higher than the previous month and 29% over $159,000 a year ago.

Robust market stimulus

These price gains indeed appear as a strong stimulus for sellers in Lakewood Ranch. Recent data from the MLS of Sarasota homes for sale show that LWR inventory levels have grown to about 240 single family homes, townhomes and condominiums from 150 a year earlier.

The tailwinds of higher prices, plus strong market demand, are also providing robust stimulus to build new homes in and around Lakewood Ranch. Builders and developers, in fact, are now turning farther north and east of LWR to establish new communities.

The more preferred locations

Despite the promise of additional new residences coming into the market from these fresh development initiatives, the home inventory squeeze in Lakewood Ranch is expected to continue, particularly in its older and more established neighborhoods. The sentiment in the local real estate community is that a significant number of prospective home buyers don’t want to venture too far out of the LWR area.

Also, there’s this growing national trend of reverse migration from the suburbs to the downtown area which is likewise now being felt in the Sarasota home market. Prospective buyers in Lakewood Ranch neighborhoods find these destinations more attractive because of their proximity to the local business district, Interstate 75 and to the amenities offered in Bradenton and Sarasota’s downtown.

Buying options for new and resale homes

Several LWR villages currently offer both newly built homes and previously occupied residences. These buying opportunities include MLS listings of Sarasota homes for sale at Country Club East, Central Park, The Lake Club, The Country Club and Esplanade.

Early next year, Canadian builder Mattamy Homes is set to commence selling in its 675-home Harmony development at LWR. New home builds are likewise available at one of LWR’s neighboring communities, The Links at Rosedale just northeast of the Lakewood Ranch’s Central Park.