ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. - Good news for a local community: Developers reported 2012 was their best sales year yet.
It was a long time coming for the master planned community of Nocatee in St. Johns County. It broke ground eight years ago, and the recession put a major halt on development.
But the good news coming out of the project this week is that the community is doing better than ever.
Cranes moving and construction workers on the job is a sign the homebuilding market continues to work its way back.
"We just finished our best year," managing partner of Parc Group Rick Ray said. "We had over 500 new home sales in 2012, compared to a little over 300 in 2011."
Ray is a managing partner for the company developing Nocatee in St. Johns County.
The master planned community broke ground in 2005. A couple years later, development was halted as the economy took a dive.
"It slowed it down considerably, partially because in 2005 and 2006, the market was exceptionally hot," Ray said. "So we went from a very, very hot market to a very slow market."
After several challenging years, developers are reporting tremendous growth.
There were 508 new homes sold in Nocatee in 2012, a 62-percent increase over 2011 and nearly three times more than 2010.
"We're seeing about 40 percent of the population is relocation, people who are coming in from out of places," Ray said. "It could be out of the five-county area, so about 60 percent of the growth is people relocating within the Jacksonville area."
There are four new neighborhoods being built within Nocatee, some within walking distance to the eventual Town Center; others are lakefront.
Most homes are energy efficient, all perks Nocatee boasts.
"The amenities are here, so those that live in Nocatee, they can come home, park their car, get in their golf cart," Ray said. "Outdoor enthusiasts have everything from the Intracoastal Waterway to an unparalleled water park green-way trail system."
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