Colorado-based Richmond American Homes has added “UltraGarage” to its Central Florida home plans in an effort to attract buyers with RVs, boats or other large toys – purchases that are on the rise.
At Seasons at Park Hill in Leesburg, these homes - with a double garage and the extra-large garage - start at $267,000 base price for the Bronze, which is about 1,730 square feet; and $280,950 for the Pewter, which is about 1,880 square feet.
“We have two plans that we currently offer, and we hope to offer more,” Marketing Manager Kathleen Pollack told GrowthSpotter. “We advertise the height and width of it can fit an RV but people in Florida use it for boats, RVs, workshops.”
According to the RV Industry Association, RV shipments in the U.S. in August were up 17.3% over the same month in 2019. New powerboat retail sales in the U.S. were up 6% in June, according to an Aug. 19 report from the National Marine Manufactures Association “115,000 new power boats were sold in May and June alone - a 30% increase over the same time period last year - with personal watercraft, saltwater fishing boats and jet boats driving growth,” according to the NMMA.
“This summer, the recreational boating industry has seen record sales across all entry-level segments,” NMMA’s Sarah Salvatori told GrowthSpotter.
Richmond American also is offering the “UltraGarage” at its communities in Deland and also in Jacksonville at Seasons at Riverchase.
The homebuilder also is working to try to add the homes to its St. Cloud master planned community of Seasons at Southern Pines. Richmond American paid $5.17 million this summer for about 103 acres along Nolte Road in St. Cloud. The property is entitled for 313 lots.
“We would like to do them there and we’re going through the process to see if we are able to do that,” Pollack said. Not every lot in a community is large enough for the large garages, which need to be at least 60 x 115 to fit the Bronze or Pewter homes.
The lot sizes and large-garage-design need approval from each municipality to the home choices, Pollack said. An effort failed in Lakeland in Polk County, where the homebuilder has Seasons at Riverside, she said.
Lake Weir Preserve in Marion County is the only other community and homebuilders Pollack said she is aware of offering the attached RV garage concept in Central Florida.
Real estate developer Neil S. Schuster and builder Trusten Holland Drake offer their large-garage site plan starting in the $200s and running in the mid $600s in the “active living retirement community.”
Like Richmond American’s communities, Lake Weird Preserve is a low HOA – actually no HOA subdivision.
“Our communities are low HOA fees,” Pollack said. “They aren’t highly amenitized communities.” Homeowners “want to travel. They want to spend that money on other things,” and they don’t want to have to store their toys elsewhere.
Richmond American started selling the “Ultragarage” home sites out west in Colorado and Arizona first. “They really took off in Arizona,” particularly in the communities in Phoenix, Pollack said.
Developers had expected mostly retired buyers, she said, however "we are having younger buyers. “A lot of younger families are buying RVs.”
Americans have the largest ownership market of recreational vehicles in the world, with about 40 million people and 9 million families in the U.S. owning an RV, according to RV Industry Association. Of those, 38% are Millennials – people born between 1981 and 1996, while the average age of an RV owners is 48.