With its Phase 1 lots nearly sold out, Pulte Homes made a big investment this month in Serenoa master-planned community, plunking down $12.49 million to buy all of Phase 3.
“We purchased 298 lots,” Max Perlman, Pulte’s vice president of land acquisition, told GrowthSpotter. “We’ve been active in the community since it began in 2017 under our Centex brand. This village will be Pulte branded community.”
The sale that closed last week encompassed 276 acres west of Sawgrass Boulevard, along with approved engineering plans. Perlman said Pulte has already launched horizontal construction for the new section.
Kolter Land is the master developer of the 987-acre Serenoa community, which is entitled for 1,600 homes, along with commercial and multifamily parcels. D.R. Horton is the exclusive developer of the 600-unit Palms at Serenoa active adult community; and Pulte is one of four homebuilders in the non-age restricted villages.
“We’re down to a handful of lots,” Perlman said. “We had built a total of 133 lots. It’s been a very successful community for us. I can’t say enough about the job Kolter has done. The community has a nice feel to it, with lots of wetlands and lakes. And the new amenity center has been very well received by the residents.”
He told GrowthSpotter the company opted to upgrade its product offering to the Pulte line because the community has matured to the point that it can demand higher prices and offer a greater level of customization. The new village includes a selection of 60-foot lots, which allows for floorplans with 3-car garage option, along with a mix of 40- and 50-foot lots.
“This pod will be gated, and it contains a very high mix of premium lots with wetland, conservation and water views,” he added. “There are very few back-to-back lots.”
Pulte will offer its “refreshed” product line, with base prices starting in the mid $200s and topping out in the high $300s.
While the Centex line will no longer be available in Serenoa, it will be offered just up the road at Cagan Crossings. Pulte has joined Meritage Homes in a partnership to develop the 323-lot subdivision just off Cagan Crossings Boulevard.
The two homebuilders paid $3.95 million this month for equal shares of the new section, but Meritage will assume the role of lead developer, Perlman said. Groundbreaking will take place in August and the first homes should be delivered by late summer 2021.
Cagan Crossings already has a town center and multiple apartment communities. This will be the first single-family subdivision in the community, and it will also be gated with its own pool and cabana.
This summer kept Pulte’s land team busy. Earlier this month, the homebuilder paid about $8 million in Orange County for final phases of a subdivision it has been developing on the shore of Lake Pickett. Sunset Preserve is entitled for a max of 253 lots on the 130 acre site. Home prices there will range from $400,000 to over $1 million for homes between 2,000 square feet and 5,000 square feet.
“We focus on running a diversified portfolio, we hit every market from entry level to luxury,” Perlman said. “We also have divisions that focus on vacation homes and active adult, through our Del Webb brand.”
He said the company has largely rebounded from the initial losses due to the pandemic-related shutdown in the spring. “As of today, a majority of our market is strong, but portions are slow,” he said.
The company’s YOY sales dipped in the first quarter because of the pandemic, but the second quarter sales companywide and in Florida exceeded 2019 figures across all categories, according to its latest earnings report. President Ryan Marshall is projecting a strong second half of 2020 based on the 3% gain in home sales revenue.
“New home demand has clearly rebounded, but we continue to take a disciplined approach to our business given the ongoing spread of the coronavirus,” he said last week. “As a result, we are gradually increasing our land acquisition and development spend to help ensure future lot availability. We are also increasing our start cadence and related investment in house inventory, while continuing to expand our offering of first-time buyer product to meet the growing demand for more affordably priced homes. We have also recalled the majority of furloughed employees and may rehire additional staff as the recovery continues to unfold.”
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