By Katie Murar
The master-planned community of Ran- cho Mission Viejo saw a drop-off in sales last year due to a lack of supply, not de- mand, as the South County development nears sell-out of its second large neighbor- hood and prepares to begin land sales for the third.
“We’ve been in sellout mode since 2019, and we are down to just four homes left to go,” RMV’s EVP of community de- velopment Paul Johnson said. “While total sales are down, that’s just because we have less to sell from.”
The 2,700-unit Village of Esencia opened in 2015 and features a mix of single-family homes, attached product and homes geared for 55+ residents.
The last homes to be sold within Esencia are at Sterling, a collection of two-story, single-family residences by New Home Co. that opened about a year ago and will ultimately total 62 homes.
Sterling was initially set to open last March but was postponed to May as a result of the pandemic.
Shortly after opening, New Home Co. sold out Sterling’s grand opening phases using primarily virtual marketing tactics, signaling strong buyer demand early into the pandemic.
The homes designed by Bassenian Lagoni run up to 2,595 square feet, with prices from the mid-$800,000s to the mid- $900,000s.
The Esencia project is the second village at Rancho Mission Viejo, following the 1,334-home Sendero that launched in 2013 and sold out in two years.
RMV is busy planning the third phase, its largest to date with 7,000 units planned across five different villages.
The first is Rienda, a 2,900-home project with a cumulative value in the neighborhood of $2 billion.
Four builders have been tapped for the first phase of Rienda, with Lennar, Meritage Homes, PulteGroup and TRI Pointe Homes Inc. slated to build 671 houses in seven new communities.
“Our focus in the past year has been grading land and getting our builders ready to break ground in the next two or three months, with the goal of opening in the spring of 2022,” Johnson said.
The third phase will also include a new batch of more affordably priced homes, with planned condominiums priced around $400,000.
“Attainability is a continued focus for us,”
said Kris Maher, vice president of com- munity development. “We want to deliver homes that are less expensive than ever before.”
Amenities planned for the new phase include what Johnson describes as an “experience center,” a 9-acre Ranch Camp that will include a half-acre swimming lagoon, lap pool, open-air gym, a horse pasture and a nature reserve.
“It’s a remarkable space that’s unique to what anyone has seen in a long time,” Maher said.
RMV is also planning new commercial additions at the Los Patrones Business Park, a nearly 100,000-square-foot com- plex along Airoso Street.
“We’re about 70% leased out of the first phase” with tenants geared toward the residents, such as a pool supply company, a pet day care and self-storage facilities.
The entire RMV development will ultimately hold some 14,000 homes.