Developer Highlights Amenities, New Villages In Friday’s Daily Sun

Growth south of State Road 44 took on a new perspective with The Villages offering a glimpse of its master plan last week in Friday’s edition of the Daily Sun.

For the first time, the Developer disclosed the identities of the villages of Marsh Bend and Linden as the next new neighborhoods to complement the previously announced villages of DeSoto, McClure, Fenney and Southern Oaks.

The announcement, replete with four inside pages of maps, provided an overview of the planned Everglades Recreation Center, on par with existing centers like Eisenhower and Rohan, at the northwest corner of County Road 468 and Florida’s Turnpike.

Everglades will feature four softball fields, a sports pool, a basketball court, a multipurpose soccer field, pickleball and platform tennis courts, shuffleboard and bocce courts, a shared-use radio-controlled car range, a boat pavilion for radio-controlled boat enthusiasts and more.

The unveiling also revealed the location of the Magnolia Plaza neighborhood retail center just to the west of the Everglades center; Cattail Recreation Center to the northwest of Everglades; plus Hogeye Nature Trail, Sugar Cane Recreation Center, Dudley Canine Park and Archery Range, and much more.

Also: The new neighborhoods and recreational amenities growth explains in part why employment surged in December throughout The Villages metropolitan statistical area. This time, though, the job growth put The Villages MSA on the national map, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Villages not only tied with the North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton MSA with the fastest rate of employment growth in Florida, but also the 11th fastest rate of all MSAs in the country.

Year-over-year employment grew by 3.9 percent in December in The Villages MSA. That growth added 1,100 new workers to the MSA’s employment rolls. Give a lot of credit for this employment growth to the rapid home building taking place in the Village of Fenney and infrastructure work in the adjoining villages of DeSoto and McClure as well as the adjoining communities in the Southern Oaks. 

St. George, Utah, had the highest growth rate of all MSAs at 5.8 percent, followed by Elkhart-Goshen, Indiana, 5.7 percent; Athens-Clarke County, Georgia, 5.4 percent; Ocean City, New Jersey, 5.2 percent; and Daphne-Fairhope-Foley, Alabama, 4.9 percent.

Also: All indicators suggest this employment surge will continue in The Villages MSA, especially with lots already being sold in DeSoto, the village directly east of Fenney and north of Fenney Way.

Also: If the trend holds true, a growing percentage of homebuyers in DeSoto, as well as all other neighborhoods in The Villages, will be women. In fact, The Villages ranked third in the country in the number of mortgages secured by women without a male co-signer, according to a survey that SmartAsset distributed last week. Of 606 mortgages surveyed in 2016, women without a male co-signer accounted for 306, the New York-based financial technology provider concluded. That’s just four mortgages fewer than the number approved for men without a female co-signer. The Villages ranked just behind Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Santa Rosa, California.

Also: New home development accelerated over the past month at the new Soulliere Villas in the expanded section of the Village of Chatham within Village Community Development District 4 in Marion County. The Developer is building about 135 villas on that acreage just west of Chatham Acres, a single-family Villages community composed of seven ranchette homes each on 5 to 7 acres that borders the west side of property currently belonging to First Baptist Church of The Villages. However, the church congregation voted in December to sell 18 acres and a fellowship hall adjoining the north section of Calumet Grove for $2 million to the Village Center Community Development District. District officials anticipate the redevelopment of that 18 acres as a recreation area, once they complete a due-diligence review and close on the acquisition of the property.

Also: The demand for homes in the developing sections of The Villages explains the increased valuation taking place in the community. That is apparent in a recent housing market analysis released by Irvine, California-based CoreLogic, one of the nation’s leading real estate data and analytics firms. The company responsible for the widely investor-watched CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price indexes concluded in its monthly MarketPulse report that year-over-year home prices grew at a 3.16 percent rate in November in The Villages MSA. The November report showed The Villages leads the state in home value recovery from the Great Recession. While it didn’t lose too much value during the national residential real estate collapse, the community returned in 2017 to a normal level of home values, CoreLogic researchers concluded. And that makes The Villages MSA the only market in Florida where home values now are neither undervalued nor overvalued for either the lowest or the highest valued home.

David R. Corder is a senior writer with The Villages Daily Sun. He can be reached at 352-753-1119, ext. 5241, or david.corder@thevillagesmedia.com.