The "Great Reshuffling" sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to shifting regional sales among the top-selling master planned communities across the U.S., which all sold at least 460 new homes for a net total of 39,405 in 2021, according to John Burns Real Estate Consulting. Home to booming job markets and more affordable housing compared to other regions, the Sunbelt saw the most home purchases in John Burns’ top 50 list, especially as second home purchases increased in warmer markets during the pandemic.
While some veteran master plans have popped up on the top 50 list since it was first ranked in 2010, several rookies made the list for the first time after closing out longstanding projects or enlisting the help of new builders. Pandemic-driven development delays were a common obstacle for master builders throughout 2021, particularly as gaps in lot supply and labor and materials shortages limited new home sales.
We expect master plans to remain appealing to home buyers seeking their lifestyle, with access to good schools and privately controlled amenities. As the pandemic remains top of mind, buyers may be slow to give up private backyards but will also value opportunities to safely enjoy outdoor activities within their communities. We expect development delays to persist in 2022 and our ranking next January will likely reflect where lot supply flourished, and which master plans ran short.