Market snapshot: Horton sells a slew at Red Hawk Reserve



D.R. Horton sells more houses than any other home-building company in the nation, and part of its success story is being written at Red Hawk Reserve in Sarasota County.

“We are selling the heck out of them,” said sales associate Patrick McCranie, who staffs the 3,452-square-foot Egret model with associate Becky Murray.





Horton has built and sold about 70 houses so far in the 150-home development, a neighborhood that has an interesting history, considering it is only seven years old.

It was begun by U.S. Home at the height of the real estate boom — early 2006. Some houses were built, but then the market went flat.

hawkhomeBy 2009, the market had recovered enough that some well-positioned — they had money — builders were starting to buy land and pull permits again. Sensing a lot of blood in the water, D.R. Horton snatched up Red Hawk Reserve and resumed marketing and building.

“Now that the market has picked up, D.R. Horton has been so aggressive, buying property all over the place where they can get it,” said McCranie. “In Sarasota, there are no big tracts available. So we are forced to buy in existing communities and regenerate them.”

The company is building in Legends Bay at IMG Academies and Greyhawk Landing, among many other communities.

And it is not afraid of building houses on speculation, something that has not been done to any great measure for years.

“We have 12 spec situations right now,” said McCranie, who translated that as 12 house-lot packages now being built on Soaring Eagle Way, a new road in Red Hawk. Buyers who grab one of the few remaining lots could pick finishes and colors, but that’s not the standard in the development.

“The majority of everything we have is inventory homes; it is kind of like picking a car off the lot,” he said. “Once we start building it, the designers pick everything out and that is how they come to the field. We don’t do any changes. I still have two situations where they can pick out the house on the site.

“For the most part, we are building the homes and helping the community . . . because the inventory is so low.”

Red Hawk Reserve is not affordable housing, but it’s not high-end, either. D.R. Horton’s “product” starts at around $450,000 per “situation” for 2,400 to 2,500 square feet, said McCranie. “But the majority of homes we build are 3,000-plus, from $500,000 to $600,000.”

In the original section, most of the houses have 3,000 square feet or more and are priced from $450,000 to $550,000.

The story of the boom and bust is told in miniature at Red Hawk Reserve. Back in the day, prices started at around $700,000.

One house now marketed as a short sale at $455,000 sold in 2006 for $682,000. A foreclosure with 3,331 square feet, listed at $423,000, once sold for $675,000. These are housing disasters.

But evidence of the turnaround exists, too. A 2,540- square-foot former model home that first sold in April 2008 — the bad old days — for $444,000 is now listed at $550,000.

Fees are $1,200 a year, and there are no community development district fees, as the infrastructure of the gated community is paid for, McCranie said.

Red Hawk Preserve is light on the amenities, but a major draw for families is right across Clark Road: Twin Lakes Park, with its soccer and baseball fields.

“My three kids were raised here and they have been on those fields for years,” McCranie said. “It is a wonderful place to play.”

He said there is no “typical buyer” in Red Hawk Reserve. One clue of that diversity can be found in D.R. Horton’s offer of three-car garages, perfect for a teen’s vehicle.

“We have a very good mix” of buyers, McCranie said. “One of the big draws is that these school districts (Riverview High, Sarasota Middle and Lakeview Elementary) are highly sought-after and A-rated.

“Some buyers are choosing between Sarasota and Naples. Others have done their homework and know how great Sarasota is. It does draw a lot of foreigners buying second homes.”


Harold Bubil

Recipient of the 2015 Bob Graham Architectural Awareness Award from the American Institute of Architects/Florida-Caribbean, Harold Bubil is real estate editor of the Herald-Tribune Media Group. Born in Newport, R.I., his family moved to Sarasota in 1958. Harold graduated from Sarasota High School in 1970 and the University of Florida in 1974 with a degree in journalism. For the Herald-Tribune, he writes and edits stories about residential real estate, architecture, green building and local development history. He also is a photographer and public speaker. Contact him via email, or at (941) 361-4805.
Last modified: November 2, 2013
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