Market Snapshot: Harmony, Lakewood Ranch


When Mattamy Homes, a privately owned Canadian builder and developer, wanted to enter the Gulf Coast housing market, it bought 235 acres of land from Schroeder-Manatee Ranch to go along with its nearly $100 million purchase of the 10,000-acre Taylor Ranch south of Venice.


Its new Manatee County neighborhood, Harmony at Lakewood Ranch, opened in February 2014. “There’s something exciting about being in one of the best-selling communities on the West Coast of Florida,” says Ed Suchora, Mattamy’s Tampa-Sarasota division president.

Located about a mile north of State Road 70, between Lakewood Ranch Boulevard and White Eagle Boulevard, Harmony is designed to provide affordable housing for a variety of residents. Two divided-lane entrances off Malachite Drive, the northern boundary, provide pleasing access.

Harmony is not a gated community. “We felt it was better to spend the money on amenities and the overall feel of the neighborhood,” says Suchora.

Just inside the entrance is the clubhouse, which has a game and party room that can be rented by residents. The large swimming pool in back has marked lanes at the deep end and zero entry at the shallow section on the opposite side — “good for families with small children,” Suchora points out. There is also a tot playground and pavilion for picnics and other outdoor events.

In laying out the community, Mattamy Homes put in a number of lakes and ponds to maximize the opportunity for waterfront homes. A nicely landscaped berm surrounds Harmony on three sides. On the southern boundary is a large nature preserve. New walking and biking trails connect to the extensive nature trail system throughout Lakewood Ranch.

To get a better sense of what would appeal to homeowners, Mattamy Homes conducted four focus groups prior to breaking ground. The groups included real estate professionals and potential buyers who commented on their housing preferences and revealed that for Florida living, people look for flexible floor plans, prefer master bedrooms located on the first floor, like ample storage, and don’t care about small, uncovered patios.

All those findings are reflected in the three distinct home options, executed in coastal and craftsman architectural styles.

At the lowest price point are 20-foot-wide townhomes with three bedrooms and one- or two-car garages. They range in size from 1,515 to 1,746 square feet and run from $197,990 to $238,990.

Executive town homes, 30 feet wide, in buildings with single-story villas on either side, offer ground plans from 1,333 to 1,936 square feet. The villas have the option of a second-story loft space, just as at the Enclave at Forest Lakes, Mattamy Homes’ other Gulf Coast community in Sarasota. Prices start at $223,990 to go up to $275,990.

The third choice, houses on 52-foot-wide lots, offers three- and four-bedroom homes ranging from 1,626 to 2,713 square feet, and priced from $273,990 to $339,990.

Lawn and landscape care is included in the HOA fees for all homes. In addition, the town homes and villas area covered for exterior paints and roof maintenance. Owners are responsible for water and sewer, trash removal, pest control, and cable TV and Internet access.

HOA fees range from $144 to $180 per month for upkeep for all common areas, as well as the clubhouse and pool. Annual CCD (community development district) fees range from $1,358.99 to $1,858.53.

Unlike age-restricted neighborhoods, which cater to an older clientele, Harmony attracts a variety of residents. According to Suchora, that is already happening. Buyers have included year-round and snowbird retirees as well as first-time home buyers, including families with children.

One of the model town homes even has a nursery. “We appeal to all types of residents,” he says.

“Harmony is a very dynamic place,” he continues. “It has been very successful and we expect it to continue.”

To date, 115 living units have been sold, including just about all of the single-family residences. “The 20-foot townhomes are moving nicely as well,” says Suchora.

In fact, Mattamy Homes is putting in the infrastructure for its next building phase: a gated section of houses called The Reserves at Harmony. The subdivision will open this summer and include an open outdoor lawn area for soccer, football and other activities.

“It will be like a typical country park,” says Suchora.

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: March 13, 2016
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