When it comes to master planned communities, there seems to be confusion on what one actually is. I’ve seen a lot of subdivisions market their developments as “master planned communities” when they are actually “master planned neighborhoods”. There is a big difference in the two and they offer completely different benefits.
A master planned community can usually be distinguished by the large number of facilities and amenities throughout the development. In addition to housing plots, master planned communities will incorporate office parks, business centers, hotels, and retail centers in the plan. Planned communities will encompass an enormous amount of land that allows for extensive recreational amenities like golf courses, waking/biking trails, lakes, and parks. Once a planned community matures in age, it truly starts to act like its own town.
Master planned neighborhoods are typically smaller in size than planned communities. In suburban areas, there are usually multiple competing planned neighborhoods that share common shopping strips and other amenities. Sometimes developers will build these neighborhoods hoping or assuming that retail and commercial growth will follow. A lot of planned neighborhoods will feature their own parks and recreational facilities within the development but usually much less in number than a planned community.
The Woodlands Texas was one of the first master planned communities to be developed in America. Close to 40 years old now, it has matured into its own thriving town and has become a business hub for the entire region. The Woodlands has been the best selling master planned community 8 times over the past decade and remains in the top 5 in the nation almost every year. With large tracts of land getting scarcer every day in Texas, it would be almost impossible to replicate The Woodlands due to its enormous size. The Woodlands real estate features homes in every price range with a wide range in architectural styles. By design, there is something here for everyone.
There are many difference in neighborhoods vs communities, and one should weigh up all the benefits when choosing between the two. If recreational facilities are not important to you, then a planned neighborhood might be the better choice. You might be able to buy a larger/newer home in a neighborhood vs a planned community. Of course there are tons of other variables that come into play when choosing where to live, both planned neighborhood and planned communities offer great choices.