A Summerville residential village slid a few spots but places 13th among the largest communities of its kind in the nation last year, based on a consulting group's findings.

Cane Bay Plantation had been ranked 7th in 2016, according to John Burns Real Estate Consulting, which crafted the Top 50 Masterplans survey. Gramling Brothers Real Estate and Development designed sprawling Cane Bay, situated off U.S. Highway 176, over the past 10 years. The group of neighborhoods and surrounding properties include a Publix-anchored shopping plaza and Cane Bay High, Middle and Elementary schools.

The community totaled 584 sales in 2017, up 3 percent from 569 the year before. Cane Bay has made the top 50 list for at least the past five years.

Sprawling The Villages in central Florida ranked first in the John Burns survey with 2,231 sales in 2017.

Last year, four Masterplans nationwide exceeded 1,000 Sales, the consulting firm says. Most are in California, Texas and Florida.

John Burns Consulting pointed to geographical shifts in the concentration of "masterplans," with Florida sliding 2 percentage points and Texas also dipping 2 points to 30 percent. Still, Florida’s masterplans account for 28 percent of the top 25, up from 20 percent a year ago, it says.

The Southeast’s share remains low at 6 percent but bumped up from a ago as developments in Charlotte and in Wilmington in North Carolina made the cut for the first time. "We rarely see large masterplan sites in Atlanta, Charlotte, and Raleigh, but Charleston has several that were previously owned by paper manufacturers," John Burns Consulting notes.

Southern California masterplans accounted for nearly one-quarter of the top 25 communities. Phoenix and Las Vegas also reported increases in top 25 masterplans, while the volume dropped in Denver.

In the report by Jody Kahn and senior research analyst Devyn Bachman, "masterplan sales surged in 2017. Together, the top 50 masterplans sold 28,329 homes, reflecting a 20 percentyear-over-year increase from 2016." Their combined 2017 sales represent about 4.5 percent of all new home sales nationally, Calfornia-based John Burns Consulting says.

The report notes that "more builders and more amenities pay off. Masterplawith varied product and price points. Proper product segmentation leads to strong sales thanks to housing communities that are differentiated. Summerlin in Las Vegas is considered to have one of the best mixes of home styles and prices, with values from the mid $300,000s to $2 milllion-plus.

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Demand from first-time home buyers is soaring, Johns Burns Consulting says. "Increased first-time buyer demand has become a national trend in the last 12–18 months."

One-of-a-kind amenities also help. For example, Rancho Mission Viejo in California features a family gathering spot called “the Campout,” which is aptly named for its resemblance to an outdoor campground, John Burns Consulting notes. Another master-planned community, Baker Ranch, "listened to buyers who increasingly consider their pets as family members, including the 'Barker Ranch' dog park in their masterplan. These popular amenities reflect a major shift from the reliance on resort-style pools and 18-hole golf courses," the consulting group points out.

At the same time, the company sees the shift away from resort-size pools tol reverse itself in 2018, as a number of communities with Crystal Lagoons -- a popular new water attraction -- are currently under construction.

For more, go to www.realestateconsulting.com.