Cane Bay sees healthy rise in sales, higher ranking in consultant’s yearly list of top 50 master-planned communities

Expressive landscaping highlights this Cane Bay home (Photo by Laura Olsen/Olsen Imagery).

A steadily growing village on the fringes of Summerville showed strength in an annual survey that tracks sales in the largest, mapped-out communities in the U.S.

Cane Bay Plantation posted 385 home sales last year, ranking 23rd in the “Top 50 Master-Planned Communities in 2014” as compiled by John Burns Real Estate Consulting LLC.

The California-based company wrapped up its study earlier this month. It’s at least the third consecutive year that Cane Bay landed in the top 50.

According to the consultant’s findings, Cane Bay Plantation recorded 341 house sales in 2013. From 2013 to 2014, transactions jumped 13 percent. Cane Bay was one of a dozen communities that saw a year-to-year increase in rankings and one of 26 to post a net increase in sales. The development placed 24th highest in sales in 2013.

Grambling Brothers Real Estate & Development unveiled Cane Bay Plantation in the later 2000s. Backed by a host of builders, the sprawling group of neighborhoods off U.S. Highway 176 a few miles north of Carnes Crossroads is the only master-planned community in South Carolina on the John Burns Consulting list and also the sole locale in the Southeast. At least one builder, K. Hovnanian Homes, disclosed last year that it would begin building houses at Cane Bay for the first time.

Master-planned-village leaders by state are Texas, with 20 communities; California, 10; and Florida, 9.

The largest master-planned community in the U.S. is The Villages in central Florida, which saw sales drop 24 percent in 2014 to 2,601.

In a report accompanying the findings, Ken Perlman and Jody Kahn of John Burns Consulting agree that 2014 was a “strong year” for the top 50 master-planned communities .

“Builders in the top 50 … captured 22,238 new home sales in 2014, or 5 percent of annual U.S. new home sales,” their report says.

Kahn, senior vice president of research; and Perlman, senior vp of consulting, say they contacted developer and builder representatives at more than 130 communities to arrive at this year’s top 50 ranking.

Nationwide, sales volume dropped 4 percent from 2013, when the top 50 master-planned communities landed 23,112 deals.

“Higher new home prices, paired with waning or delayed lot supplies in many of the top-selling communities, weighed on sales volumes this year,” the two researchers said.

Also, changes in 2014 Federal Housing Administration loan limits reduced sales transactions in “affordability-driven” metro areas. The company cited places such as Riverside-San Bernardino in California and Las Vegas.

Also in the report:

- Texas represented 40 percent of all top sellers, with 15 of those in Houston

- Other big metro areas for sales were Denver, with four master-planned communities in the top 50; and Las Vegas, with three such communities.

- Phoenix, which traditionally has communities in the top 50, dropped out “as new home sales slowed significantly in 2014, and some communities were running low on lots,” the company says.

- Houston-based Johnson Development Co. had the most master-planned communities in the top 50, with four.

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