Buoyed by buyers looking for more open space in the pandemic era, Taylor Morrison has doubled down in Lake Las Vegas and purchased 122 acres over a span of six months and will open three new communities with 435 home sites in late 2022 and early 2023.
The acquisitions by the Arizona-headquartered builder — the fifth largest in the nation — along with global investment firm Varde Partners, comes after two Lake Las Vegas communities started by William Lyon Homes closed out in 2021. Taylor Morrison, which acquired William Lyon in early 2021, sold out its homes last year in Lago Vista with 52 lots and Peaks at Lake Las Vegas with 88.
The land acquisitions and continued builder interest is more great news for Lake Las Vegas, the 3,600-acre resort community with a 320-acre lake and hotels on the eastern outskirts of Henderson.
There were as few as six home closures in Lake Las Vegas in 2016, but that bumped up to 80 in 2017, 130 in 2018 and 180 in 2019. That pace held steady in 2020, when there were 187 home closures, but 2021 saw a breakthrough with 389 sales — more than doubling the previous year. Home closures in 2022 are off to a solid start with 97 through March, according to Home Builders Research.
“What we saw during COVID, there was significant out-migration from urban areas, in particular from California,” said Taylor Morrison Las Vegas Division President James Gomez. “As the COVID initial drop (in sales waned) and the interest came back to the market, we had a ton of people wanting to leave Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle, Chicago and New York City. I think it was a level of indifference with those buyers who, if they were commuting, didn’t mind the drive they had relative to LA.”
Because people were able to work from home, Gomez said Taylor Morrison sold a lot of second homes to people at Peaks at Lake Las Vegas and the luxury neighborhood Lago Vista, which included homes on the waterfront that sold for more than $1 million. Lago Vista went from one to two sales a month to three-plus, and Peaks had two to three sales a month to more than four a month, he said.
“There’s a lot of great master plans in the community, but Lake Las Vegas is incredibly peaceful and a wonderfully amenitized community,” Gomez said. “As we got through the COVID shutdown, sales in Lake Las Vegas in particular really took off for us. We wanted to replace neighborhoods for the success we were having there.”
Taylor Morrison’s three new communities are Portofino, Marbella and Verona.
Portofino is 83 acres and will have 274 lots with one-story homes that range from 1,980 to 3,500 square feet. The base prices range from the high $500,000s to low $900,000s. Taylor Morrison purchased the land in April from Raintree Investment Corp., the developer of Lake Las Vegas. Grading started in April, and home sales are expected to launch by the end of the year and construction in early 2023.
“It is going to have some sweeping views of the lake,” Gomez said. “It’s a grand vista that’s going to be next to a lot of the remaining home-builder activity.”
Marbella, which overlooks Reflection Bay Golf Course, is 10 acres and will have 34 lots. The one-story homes range from 2,350 square feet to 2,600 square feet and base prices range from the high $600,000s to low $700,000s. It has an elevation difference between lot tiers, Gomez said. That site was purchased in October from a private party. Infrastructure development started recently and sales are expected to launch by the end of the year and construction in early 2023.
“That’s an incredibly beautiful small-lot section,” Gomez said. “It will have great views of the golf course and the valley of Lake Las Vegas. It’s important to have a heavy focus on single stories. There’s not enough supply in the valley and two of the three projects gave us the opportunity to meet buyer demand for this type of product.”
Verona is 29 acres and will have 127 lots. The two-story homes will range in size from 1,800 square feet to 2,500 square feet with prices ranging from the $400,000s to low $500,000s. It was purchased in November from private owners. Development will start in two months. Sales will be launched in early 2023, and construction started in the second quarter of 2023.
The three projects offer a variety of product types perfect for move-up buyers, empty nesters or retirees looking to settle in a one-of-a-kind lifestyle community, Gomez said.
“We see demand from multiple consumer segments in Lake Las Vegas,” Gomez said. “It’s such an incredible community with a natural feel and hillside beauty.”
Among master plans featuring production builders, Lake Las Vegas ranks second to only Summerlin in prices sought for new homes. In the first quarter, new-home base prices in Lake Las Vegas were $593,175, according to Home Builders Research. That’s a 26 percent increase over the $470,519 in the first quarter of 2021.
Home Builders Research President Andrew Smith said there’s a lot of other activity in Lake Las Vegas. Century Communities has about 50 acres to start projects. Tri Pointe Homes, Richmond American and Toll Brothers are among active builders. Blue Heron has multiple projects opening up and is doing great. Del Webb with its 55-plus communities has picked up more land as well, Smith said.
“There’s a lot of builders going out there now, but five years ago a lot of people thought Lake Las Vegas was dead,” Smith said. “There was nothing going on there for a long time after the (housing crash following Great Recession). They’ve done a really good job bringing it back to a place where people want to live. Anyone who goes out there sees it’s a really nice place. It’s great to see builders going back out there in large numbers and excited that other areas of that master plan are opening up.”
Pat Parker, the president of RainTree Investment Corp., said Lake Las Vegas has more than 3,600 homes, and that there will be between 5,000 and 6,000 homes at the build-out.
Parker added that it is great to do more business with Taylor Morrison and that their projects will work well for Lake Las Vegas, which is well-positioned.
“We’re thrilled that sales have been robust out there, and people are coming in and enjoying the expanded sports club,” Parker said. “The golf facility has a membership program now and people are joining a dining club. It’s a full-time place to live and for me having full-time residents that call it home is my greatest joy.”