The top-selling master-planned communities in the Houston area | Fort Bend Economic Development Council

In another sign of how hot Houston’s real estate market has been in the pandemic, 10 of the area’s major neighborhood developments made it onto a national list of the 50 top-selling master planned communities in 2021. A peek at the list from RCLCO, a housing consulting firm based in the Washington, D.C. area, provides insight into what neighborhoods new home buyers are flocking to in the greater Houston area.

In Fort Bend County, Tamarron (DR Horton), Sienna Plantation (Johnson Development), and Cross Creek Ranch (Johnson Development) all ranked in the top 50 selling MPCs in the nation.

Master-planned communities are dominated by newly-built homes and are significantly larger than standard subdivisions. Often spanning thousands of acres, master-planned communities typically offer homes at a range of price points in a collection of neighborhoods or villages with walking trails, parks, pools, golf courses and extensive amenities. The communities often include mixed-use town centers, office buildings, retail and even schools.

In the Houston area, Bridgeland, Balmoral, Tamarron and Sienna all ranked within the top 25 communities on RCLO’s list, along with six other communities in the area that made the top 50 list.

“Houston has once again ranked as the No. 1 metropolitan area in terms of total master-planned communities” on the list, said Karl Pischke, principal at RCLCO, in an emailed statement to the Chronicle. “Houston continues to offer a lifestyle that many buyers are seeking, and at a value that some, such as those relocating from high cost of living areas, find quite attractive.”


Although plenty of buyers have an appetite for homes in these communities, the city wasn’t immune to widespread labor and supply shortages that plagued the construction industry in 2021. These hurdles “prevented communities from fully capitalizing on demand,” Pischke added.

Like other communities nationally, builders in many of Houston’s master-planned communities contended with supply chain constraints that impacted the availability and cost of building materials. Everything from lumber to kitchen appliances and floor tiling has seen its share of shortages in the pandemic, pushing back construction timelines and further crimping the supply of new homes.

Coupled with labor shortages, many builders were forced to enact “metering” strategies – or intentionally setting limits on how many homes were sold per a week or per a month in order to fulfill existing new home contracts, RCLCO noted .

Builders in Bridgeland, for example, temporarily paused custom, built-to-suit style homes in favor of building pre-designed houses that enable them to control costs, said Health Melton, a Regional President for Howard Hughes, the master developer of the Cypress-area community. Depending on the builder, that pause on constructing custom houses lasted about 4 to 6 months, but things are back to normal now, he said in an interview.

"Consumer demand hasn’t slowed down in Texas and Houston. There’s a lot of in-migration coming to the state of Texas … and many [transplants] are coming to master-planned communities like ours,” Melton said.

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