[REN #755] Housing Market: Crystal Lagoons Fire up Home Sales

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Picture of beach scene for Real Estate News for Investors Podcast Episode #755

Home sales are hot for master-planned communities that have Crystal Lagoons. These man-made lakes create a beach-style environment on property miles from the ocean. There are just a hand-full of them in the U.S. right now, but their popularity is growing fast. According to a new report from RCLCO, the sales volume for homes in Crystal Lagoon communities is experiencing a year-over-year increase of almost 350%.

RCLCO is a company that offers creative real estate development advice. It was originally named after architect and founder Robert Charles Lesser, but the acronym now serves as the company name. Every year, RCLCO conducts a national survey to determine the top-selling master-planned communities. (1) It shows that the very first U.S. community to build a Crystal Lagoon is one of the nation’s most popular among home buyers. The analysis ranked the Epperson development in Wesley Chapel, Florida, as third out of 310 communities in Tampa Bay.
 

Private Crystal Lagoon Success

Epperson’s 7.5-acre lagoon was built by the Metro Development Group and the first of four planned Crystal Lagoons for the area. Metro is building a second one at an adjacent community called Mirada which is partially-owned by our RealWealth investors. It’s a residential project with 4,200 lots that we syndicated about 6 years ago. We partnered with two New York hedge funds to get the project going. They bought in for 90% of the project. We own 10%.

Developers experienced similar success at Sole Mia In Miami, Florida. The multi-family complex was ready for tenants earlier this year. According to Builder Online, All the two-bedroom units facing the 7.5-acre Crystal Lagoon were leased in less than seven weeks. (2) They also went for about $300 more than the units facing the ocean. Larger units facing the lagoon are also going more rapidly.

Outside of Florida, a smaller 2-acre Crystal Lagoon called Balmoral was the first to open in Texas. That community ranked 43rd among the top 50 best-selling master-planned communities last year. John Burns Real Estate Consulting also recognized Balmoral for a 345% jump in sales as the community with the “Most Increased Sales.”

Crystal Lagoons VP of business development, Eric Cherasia, says, “The hard sales data we have certainly validates that our lagoons are really revolutionizing the market.” He told Builder, “We’re seeing a ton of success across all of the projects we’re doing.”
 

Public Crystal Lagoons Access

Builder says there are 110 Crystal Lagoons at some stage of development in the U.S. right now. Most of them are being built within private-access communities, but the Crystal Lagoon company says it’s pushing for more public access projects.

According to the Narcity publication, Epperson Ranch has been allowing public access to that lagoon as a temporary arrangement. When the development is done, access will be limited to just residents. But there are projects coming online that will provide permanent public access. One such project is in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Builder reports that it will be located at the site of an old industrial complex that’s being turned into a community gathering spot with restaurants, stores, offices, and homes. The complex will have residents, but access to the Crystal Lagoon will be open for both residents and the public. It’s also cold in Pittsburgh during the winter so the lagoon will be turned into a skating rink when the weather is freezing.

Cherasia says of the Pittsburgh project, “The lagoon is going to be kind of this centralized meeting place. And not only is it going to be open to residents, it’s going to be open to the public.” Members of the public will have to pay a small fee.
 

What Are Crystal Lagoons

If you haven’t heard much about Crystal Lagoons in the past, they’ve been described as nothing short of massive, and stunning. They have the ability to transform any ordinary piece of land into a safe, family-friendly beach. They are filled with crystal clear water that’s perfect for swimming, paddle boarding, kayaking and other water sports. They can be as deep as nine feet or as shallow as needed for young children. And there is no limit to their size.

The technology is also impressive. Crystal Lagoons use one hundred times fewer chemicals than swimming pools on a per-volume basis. Instead of chlorine they use an automated remote-controlled system that measures the water’s PH, temperature, and other factors to determine the exact locations that need disinfecting. Disinfectant is then used only in those places.

They also have a low-cost ultrasonic filtration system for solid matter that uses sound waves to push dirt into a giant suction cart that travels on the bottom of the pool. It’s very energy efficient and uses 50 times less energy than typical swimming pools technology.

And, they are good at conserving water. Despite the massive volume of water needed to fill one of these pools, they use 30 times less water than a golf course and 50% less water than a park of the same size. And, they use anti-evaporation technology that conserves even more water.

We’ll be hearing more and more about Crystal Lagoons as they come online at developments across the country. If you go to the Crystal Lagoon website, you’ll see that there are dozens of them worldwide. You can find more information about our syndications under the group investment tab on our website.
 
Links:

(1) RCLCO Survey

(2) Builder Online Article

(3) Narcity Article

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