Southern Crafted Homes was recognized as the state’s Top Home Builder for Florida Green Builder Certifications during 2010, with 62 FGBC and Energy Star-rated homes. With 74 homes certified within the first 45 days of 2011, the FGBC program has reached a milestone of 3,000 homes certified since 2001. “We made the decision at the end of 2008 to redesign our product to meet the strict performance requirements of FGBC because we thought it was the right thing to do”, says Jim Deitch, chief operating officer for Southern Crafted Homes.


Minnesotans Kathy and Roger Fick recently visited Del Webb’s Southshore Falls in Apollo Beach to take advantage of the community’s $79 “Stay and Play” offer at the Resort and Club at Little Harbor in Apollo Beach. They liked it so much, they bought a new home. Sean Strickler, vice president of sales and marketing for Del Webb in the Tampa Bay region, says the introductory  program allows prospective buyers to “take the lifestyle for a test drive” before they make a decision to buy. Visitors get complete use of the active-adult community’s 14,000-square-foot Wellspring Club, which includes a fitness center, billiards room, Internet café, resort style swimming pool, bocce ball courts and putting green. The Ficks bought a 1,363-square-foot villa that will be ready in the summer.

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Neal Communities signed 39 contracts in the month of February at an average home price of more than $300,000. This represents an increase of 85 percent in number of contracts over last year, and the best month for sales since February 2004. Home sales are strong in the higher end of the market with 20 of the contracts from the golf-course communities of Lakewood Ranch (The Country Club and Country Club East) and Sawgrass in Venice. In fact, seven of the contracts are with Neal Signature Homes, a division of Neal Communities that offers personalized homes for the luxury market. Four of the sales were in  Greystone, which is the highest-priced neighborhood in the Neal family with prices starting in the low $500s for homes and homesites. “There is now a sense of urgency,” notes John Neal of Neal Signature Homes. “Luxury home buyers see that prices are no longer declining, in fact they are starting to increase. They recognize that the timing is critical to build their dream home.”


Inland Homes has begun presales in the Parkside neighborhood of Lake Jovita, a master-planned golf-course community. Prices start in the $240s and the floorplans range in size from 2,328 to 2,675 square feet. Golf course homesites are available. The model under construction, the Amherst, is a three-bedroom, three-bathroom home with a den, a formal dining room, a gourmet island kitchen, an upstairs bonus room and an office as well as a three-car garage. Lake Jovita boasts an array of amenites, including a 30,000-square-foot clubhouse and an Olympic-size swimming pool.

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Ashton Woods Homes has opened a new single-family model home and started construction of two ready-to-move-in homes at Grand Hampton, located in New Tampa. The two-story Oxford model home offers four bedrooms, three-and-a-half baths, 2,822 square feet of living space and a two-car garage. It also features a large front porch with columns, formal living and dining rooms, a large open family room and a kitchen with an optional island. Two ready-to-move-in homes, one with three bedrooms and one with four bedrooms, will open at Grand Hampton in April. Prices start at $219,900.