Herb Jaffe: New-home sales could top 1,000 in Summerlin this year

You can’t say enough about Summerlin.

Sure, it’s one of the most successful master-planned communities in the country, just as it has been for 27 years. Certainly many view it as the jewel of developer Howard Hughes Corp., which maintains properties in 14 states, from New York to Hawaii.

That in itself is a major achievement for the company established by legendary eccentric Howard Hughes. And that brings up another noteworthy event. Some might say no land deal compares to the one Hughes made two-thirds of a century ago with the federal government, when he purchased what was then a desert wasteland for relative peanuts, with the intent of building a gigantic testing airport.

But things changed in a hurry, especially when visionaries realized the property lay at the foothills of picturesque Red Rock Canyon. And it didn’t take long for them to discover the breathtaking views from what has become Summerlin — named for Hughes’s grandmother — and particularly from some of its highest points.

There have been many Summerlin groundbreakings of note in recent years, but development in the increasingly popular community may have taken a new twist in recent months. There’s the distinct probability that more than 1,000 new homes will have been sold in Summerlin just in 2017.

Indeed, in every respect, Summerlin has become the embodiment of suburbia in an otherwise-urban city.

According to a report issued by national real estate consulting firm RCLCO, 470 new homes were sold in Summerlin during the first six months of this year. When you look at the full picture, you might find that was just for starters.

The folks at Howard Hughes Corp. couldn’t be more delighted with the potential for rapidly developing the remaining 6,000 or so raw acres of the 22,500 acres that make up Summerlin.

“From Reverence on Summerlin’s northernmost boundary to The Cliffs village on the south, Summerlin has never offered such a wide range of housing as it does today,” said Kevin T. Orrock, president of Summerlin.

There has been a multitude of new home sales throughout the year in this section of the city that sits on the western rim of the valley. But the big thrust came with the opening June 10 of Reverence Village, a 300-acre development.

As an example of the public’s growing fondness for Summerlin, what will become a 930-home development high above most of the area, the Reverence project, under construction by Pulte Homes, drew more than 2,500 prospective homebuyers during its first weekend. In its first three weeks, 51 homes were sold in Reverence.

Five more new-home neighborhoods are expected to have sales openings in Summerlin before year’s end. One is Nova Ridge in Cliffs Village, a Pardee Homes development that also sits on an elevated hillside. Nova Ridge is scheduled to open in September.

“We anticipate strong sales of new homes to continue in Summerlin throughout the remainder of the year,” Orrock said.

So what has happened to bring about all of this positive activity?

For one thing, the major economic downturn of a few years ago has since evolved into a major economic upturn. Few people were looking for new home mortgages at a time when banks were overwhelmed by floods of foreclosures.

For another , the completion of two vital roads — Summerlin Parkway and the 215 Beltway – has created the most direct paths to Summerlin.

But Orrock put his finger on still another factor when he said, “We are excited about the continuing evolution of Downtown Summerlin, the community’s urban core.”

Herb Jaffe was an op-ed columnist and investigative reporter for most of his 39 years at the Star-Ledger of Newark, New Jersey. His most recent novel, “Double Play,” is now available. Contact him at hjaffe@cox.net.

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