Making its debut appearance on the Top 50 list was Babcock Ranch, the nation’s first solar-powered development that spans southeastern Charlotte County and northeastern Lee County.

It ranked 39th among master-planned communities with 230 mid-year sales. Babcock Ranch began marketing new homes in 2017, and the first residents moved came in January 2018.

“We are looking forward to a strong second half of the year as well, with our new, growing neighborhoods and a selection of available homes from our team of preferred builders,” said Syd Kitson, chairman/CEO of developer Kitson & Partners.

Texas and Florida combined accounted for 61% of sales among the 50 top-selling communities.

“Builders, developers and salespeople are adapting to new technology solutions as consumers remain wary of returning to business as usual,” Logan said. “We are seeing that those organizations that are adopting new technologies, such as accommodating self-showings and online transactions, are attractive to consumers for their safety as well as their simplicity and ease of use.”

Most master-planned community developers are “generally optimstic” about the rest of the year, he said. Those communities have historically performed better than other new residential developments during times of economic hardship.

During the run-up to the Great Recession, the largest master-planned communities saw their market share fall due to over-supply. But as that recession severely impacted overall new home sales, the top MPCs saw their market share increase.

“We believe this is a ‘flight to quality’ and perhaps a ‘flight to safety’ wherein MPCs are perceived as a better, safer investment as well as place to live,” Logan said.

Sales at MPCs nationwide were strong in January and into February. But March sales fell about 13%, and the slide continued into April until the second half of the month, when developers reported their sales pace had recovered.

At Lakewood Ranch, active adults have accounted for a large percentage of home sales, and young couples showed the biggest increase of any consumer profile, rising 38% year-over-year. It also attracts families and empty nesters.

“The Northeast remained the largest feeder market for buyers from out of state, with increases in Midwest buyers, as well as those from the Maryland-D.C. area,” the ranch said.