Master-planned communities such as Bridgeland were not immune to this trend, according to Heath Melton, the executive vice president for master-planned community residential development at the Howard Hughes Corp.
But things turned around in May, and Bridgeland ended up seeing a 73% year-over-year increase in home sales over May 2019, Melton said.
This number follows a nearly 100% year-over-year increase in home sales in January and February and 24% and 63% year-over-year decreases in home sales in March and April, respectively.
Melton said there was an increase in demand as stay-at-home orders and other restrictions started being lifted in early May as many families who were interested in purchasing a home were not comfortable getting out to do so earlier in the spring.
Bridgeland officials focused on strengthening social media engagement during the pandemic and saw a 90% year-over-year increase in traffic to their website—a trend that indicated people were still interested in buying homes, Melton said.
During that time, homebuilders and real estate agents in the community transitioned to virtual home tours and appointment-only meetings.
Interest rates also dropped to an all-time low in the wake of the economic downturn, which Melton said he partially attributes the uptick in home sales.
“We saw people that may have been on the fence ... [decide] to make the home purchase as well as folks that might have been able to increase the budget that they were willing to spend on a house because interest rates came down,” he said.
This increase in demand allowed homebuilders to slightly increase home prices, Melton said. The average home in Bridgeland is 2,859 square feet and sells for $407,164, according to officials.
Another advantage Melton said Bridgeland has is its reputation for open spaces and outdoor amenities—something that has become a priority for individuals shopping for homes since stay-at-home orders first went into effect. Bridgeland has parks, trails for running and biking, and a lake system used by residents for kayaking and fishing.
Homebuilders in Bridgeland are also prioritizing flexible spaces in homes that could be used as a home office for those spending more time working from home more in the future, Melton said.
“Most of our builders were good about doing that already, but they’re taking a look at some of their floor plans just to make sure they can build that in,” he said. “I think most of us that are in the industry right now think that there could be a little bit more of organizations changing their thought process on [working] from the office full time versus some partial work from home.”
Moving forward, Melton said he anticipates strong home sales will persist through the summer as long as interest rates remain low.
Concerning Bridgeland’s long-term plans for the Cypress and Katy communities, he said development is still on track as officials recently sold Cy-Fair ISD land for Elementary School No. 57 and have already made progress on infrastructure west of the Grand Parkway.
Learn more at www.bridgeland.com.