Developer Republic Property Group’s $6 billion, 7,200-acre Walsh master planned community in Fort Worth, TX, is set to open its first model homes today, according to the Dallas Business Journal.
The first phase will include 1,700 acres at an estimated cost of $1.6 billion to build out, a process that will take 12 to 15 years and include 587 homes priced from the high $200,000s. Walsh is expected to total roughly 15,000 homes at completion.
In early April, RPG opened a pop-up sales center in downtown Fort Worth. The first batch of builders is expected to begin delivering homes this spring.
The Texas housing market is hot, thanks to the state’s low cost of living and economy that fared relatively well during the last recession. Home sales and prices hit record highs for the second-straight year in 2016, according to the Texas Association of Realtors, which noted that homes in the state were on the market for two fewer days than the previous year. As with the rest of the country, inventory in Texas remains tight.
Much of that development activity is occurring through new and expanded master planned communities. Texas came out on top in the development of MPCs in 2016, with a 38% share of the national total, up from 10% in the 1990s, according to RCLCO.
Meanwhile, developers are swapping golf courses for hiking trails and shared gardens as MPC centerpieces in an effort to draw younger, typically entry-level, buyers who seek a sense of community in an increasingly plugged-in society.
At Meridiana, a 3,000-acre MPC located south of Houston, Katy, TX–based developer Rise Communities is incorporating winding walking trails as well as learning labs to educate and engage residents. Some of the programming is tied to that of the local Alvin (TX) Independent School District and the Meridiana Elementary school, located in the MPC.
Other MPCs to expand or break ground in the Houston area recently include the Woodson's Reserve community in nearby Spring, TX, which opened its eighth phase in December. Also that month, Canadian developer Empire Continental Land broke ground on a 540-unit development outside Houston. And in October, San Diego–based developer Newland Communities opened a 3,600-acre MPC west of the city with homes priced from the mid-$200,000s.
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