Lakewood Ranch tour of homes begins



Lakewood Ranch began its 17th annual fall Tour of Homes on Friday, with 31 models by 15 builders.

The event goes on through Nov. 23.

“It is our major marketing event of the year,” said Jimmy Stewart, Lakewood Ranch’s vice president for sales. “It also kicks off the season with a full schedule of lifestyle activities. There is something going on every weekend — and during the week, even.”

Music on Main was held scheduled to be held Friday, as it is on the first Friday of the month during season. Upcoming is the Harvest Moon sporting clays tournament. The Florida Balloon Festival was set for this weekend, but may be delayed by weather concerns, Stewart said.

But the main sport at Lakewood Ranch is building and selling new houses. And Lakewood Ranch has become to home selling what Peyton Manning is to touchdown-pass throwing.

The 8,500-acre master-planned community scored 369 new-home sales through September. That’s a lot, but “it was down a little bit from last year,” said Stewart.

“The challenge is getting to market some additional moderately priced product,” he said. “With Central Park and Belle Isle winding down, we need to get additional product to market.”

The average selling price this year is a bit more than $496,000, up $88,000, or 21.5 percent, compared to the same nine months of 2013.

“That number was skewed by two multi-million-dollar sales in The Lake Club,” said Stewart. “Pull those out and the average is still $468,000, a 14 percent increase.”

Central Park is more moderately priced, Stewart said, “but I’m off 50 units sold there compared to last year. That is due to it winding down. The average price there is $320,000” as houses sell on the few remaining larger lots in the back of the neighborhood.

Mattamy Homes of Canada soon will be selling in a section called Harmony, with town houses in high $180,000s. Said Stewart, “Additional products coming on later next year will fill the Central Park void.”

Stewart said the opening of the University Town Center mall on Oct. 16 “will be nothing but positive. We will have a presence there. It is a great draw, and will increase traffic” to Lakewood Ranch’s models and information centers, he said.


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: October 3, 2014
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