Recently IDEAS magazine, published by the National Association of Home Builders, featured an article on the return of the Master Planned Community. Here’s a link.
I got excited reading about the possibilities. While Western Washington has not seen the kind of MPC development Southern California has, often the results here have been very encouraging. Back in 2002 and 2003, when my Fusion team helped introduce Issaquah Highlands Phase Two, the results were nothing short of spectacular.
With a team of great home builders and an inspired developer, home sales hit nearly 600 in one year. This one community sales volume is unheard of in this market! A key strategy for that kind of volume was intentional market segmentation. A liveable Master Planned Community can appeal to a wider variety of buyers by offering a more varied line-up of new home designs, plus many more shared amenities, such as parks, trails, shopping and work opportunities.
When segmentation is deliberate, it keeps the builders from cannibalizing each other and greatly encourages product innovation.
The new High Park and Spring Mountain communities, both in Southern California are marketing to a wide variety of home buyers. The builders are encouraged to create homes that meet emerging trends.
The Gen Y’s are all over having a room to rent while they establish themselves and their careers. Multi-generational families respond to plans that give aging parents their private studio-like living space and separate entry, all under one envelope shared with the larger family. Recognizing that aging in place is appealing to the Boomer set, homes on one floor are finding new momentum. Understanding that more and more people are working from home, builders that incorporate home offices and house-wide technology expand the market. The idea is to get away from the ‘one size fits all’ builder box and design to market needs. It’s working.
Physical land constraints, along with a glacial slow entitlement process in this state, have made it hard for the Master Planned Community concept to take off like it has in California, Arizona, Texas and other regions. We see great results at Tehaleh near Bonney Lake, and soon we will be seeing the debut of at least one new Master Planned Community take shape near Black Diamond. As the developer reveals their plans, we’ll follow-up with great interest.