Successful Housing Developments: Going Beyond Four Walls


It goes without saying that many housing developments and master-planned communities exist throughout North Texas. By and large, they offer the same thing: Locations near employment centers and good schools, quality housing, multiple floor plan selections, and different pricing options.

However, to create a truly successful master-planned community -- one that residents really like, and, as a result, spread the word to friends and others -- depends on value-add attributes. These components, both tangible and intangible, can mean the difference between a fair housing development, and one that succeeds.

Morningstar, in Aledo, TX, has successfully parlayed affordability with value-add attributes since selling its first homes in 2016. In 2019, so far, Morningstar has sold 65 homes, due to reasonable pricing, plenty of floor plans, and value-add components.

House Hunting and Mortgage Rates

The good news is that, despite the Federal Reserve’s interest rate increases over the past three years, mortgage rates continue low. The reason is that investors continue struggling to make sense of competing economic commentary.

While the narrative continues confounding investors, the lower mortgage rates are good news for house hunters. Affordability has long been an issue for home ownership. A lower cost, when it comes to borrowing money, can help relieve some of the stress.

So can offering affordable homes for sale. North Texas’ affordable “sweet spot” starts at $250,000, which is the minimum price point offered for Morningstar homes. Even with the lower mortgage rates, homeowners want value for their money. They also buy, based on an MPC’s tangible and intangible value-add component.

Value-Add: Tangibles

Most buyers take for granted that, when they acquire a home, it will come with a yard, as well as plumbing and electricity connections. However, today’s homebuyers want more than four walls and acreage. They want on-site entertainment and amenities where children can play, and neighbors can get together.

As an example, Morningstar’s 700 acres include plenty of green spaces, trails, lakes, and streams. Also on site is an amenity center and clubhouse, which offers resort-style pools for children and adults, as well as cabanas, play yards, catch-and-release ponds and lakeside lawns for outdoor parties and community events. These amenities, which are, more often than not, found among higher-luxury master-planned communities, provide a competitive advantage and draw for potential homeowners.

Such amenities also lead to another important factor in a successful development, that of intangibles.



Value-Add: Intangibles

In a recent survey, Morningstar learned that the residents really liked the community and especially, the neighbors. The bonds of friendship and neighborliness didn’t just happen, however. The Morningstar staff helped push it along, by encouraging resident- and community-hosted events in the amenity space mentioned above.

Some of those events include community movie nights, which encourage families to bring a blanket, popcorn, and snacks to the event lawn, and view the film on the big screen. Morningstar also books local musicians and acts, to provide entertainment and fun for the residents.

Then there are special events, such as the July 4 community parade, which invites young and old to decorate themselves and their bicycles in our nation’s colors, then walk and ride through the development’s many streets.

All of these activities, as well as those that aren’t planned, help create bonds between neighbors while building the community. They are also an important reason why residents like being here, and why they are willing to recommend Morningstar to their friends.

Going Beyond the House

There is no doubt that housing quality is a primary decision when it comes to homeowner choice. There are, however, many quality master-planned communities throughout North Texas. But, the truly successful development goes beyond providing houses in an ideal location. The developers behind that community should focus on amenities their residents might want, as well as attributes to ensure that neighbors interact with one another. Morningstar has been doing this, with the result being an enthusiastic collection of residents, and new neighbors being added to the mix each day.