Neal Communities Celebrates Record Breaking Success In 2011

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Neal Communities celebrated an outstanding year -- 2011 was one of the best years in company history.

Neal Communities celebrated an outstanding year with over 375 closings and 451 gross contracts spanning all price points. The average sales price was $283,867, contributing to a sales volume of over $115 million. This represents a 45% increase in sales over last year, making 2011 one of the most successful years in company history.
This year’s sales figures exceeded those of 2010 by 165 closings and 129 contracts. Neal is ranked #1 locally by MetroStudy and #1 locally by Hanley Wood Market Intelligence based on number of home sales. The company currently has over 30% of the market share in Manatee County.

Neal expanded its divisions by adding a mortgage company, a title company, and team members located in a variety of departments. Charlene Neal PureStyle expanded its selection of services and launched a new website. Neal’s pool division, Waterscapes Pools & Spas, surpassed its sales projections for the year.

Neal Communities further positioned itself for continued growth with the opening of Woodbrook in Manatee County and the commencement of construction on Grand Palm, the company’s first new community in Venice. Neal completed sales in both Lismore and Wexford, located in The Country Club at Lakewood Ranch, and Mandalay, located in Bradenton. The company also sustained its generous philanthropic ventures and celebrated many significant milestones and awards.

“2011 was an outstanding year for us because of the daily commitment put forth by every person on our team. I am absolutely convinced that we have the strongest team of any builder in Southwest Florida,” stated Neal Communities’ President, Pat Neal. “These professionals have stayed focused on the task, provided exceptional customer service, and evinced unwavering optimism. I am proud of each one of them.”

The local real estate market is trending up, yielding further success for Neal Communities. “We outsell our nearest competitor, 3:1. This means that in Manatee County, 30% of new home purchasers in the market buy a Neal home,” stated Neal. “Because of our volume, we can negotiate for the best value from Trade Partners. We seek to only offer the best value for our customers.”

The Time is Right To Buy: Neal is a Powerhouse
The national real estate and economic numbers have had a greater impact on Neal than the local numbers. According to CoreLogic®, 84% of homeowners (on a national level) have equity in their homes and 30% have no mortgage at all. “These are our buyers. Most of Neal’s home purchasers are savvy people who have purchased three or four homes over their lifetime. They’ve seen this scenario before and aren’t as concerned by market fluctuations,” added Michael Storey, Building Division President of Neal Communities. “Buyers are tired of waiting. Many say: ’I’ve been patient. It’s time to live in Florida’.”

Ultimately, home ownership is still the American dream. “The only thing that it comes down to is, are you ready?” stated Storey. He added that buyers report less concern about the real estate market than in past years. “Buyers are more worried about the European debt crisis or losing their job. Those fears tend to be temporary.”

Earlier this fall, the Bradenton-Sarasota housing market was declared one of the “top 10 healthiest housing markets”— based on forecasts through 2012— by BUILDER magazine. The magazine estimated that housing prices would rise 2.8 percent next year and that the employment rate would also rise 3.7 percent. Neal Communities was cited as a “local powerhouse” in terms of permit activity in BUILDER’s article.

According to leading economists at a Florida Realtors® 2012 forecasting event, Florida’s real estate market is entering 2012 on an upward trend, despite national and global headwinds. “Our state is in a mini-recovery,” said Florida Realtors®’ chief economist and Sarasota resident, Dr. John Tuccillo. “Sales are trending up, listing inventories are falling, and the supply of lender-related properties has stabilized. We are seeing multiple offers on homes in some local markets.”

“There is now a sense of urgency,” noted John Neal, President of John Neal Homes. “Luxury home buyers have noticed that prices are no longer declining; in fact, they are starting to increase. They recognize that the time is now to build their dream home.” John Neal Homes is currently building in University Park County Club, where homes are priced from the $400s to over $1 million.

Interest rates are at a historic low. “There really hasn’t been a better time to buy—especially if you’re financing. Mortgage rates haven’t been this low since 1951,” explained Storey. “I always tell people to take 2002-2006 out of your reference. If you could get a mortgage in 1998, you can get one today.”

The Secret of Neal’s Success
Neal Communities succeeds year after year due to incredible commitment to customer satisfaction and superb attention to detail. “I call it the Neal Confidence Index. I think the consumers have more confidence when they buy from us,” said Storey. “A lot of our buyers have looked for a few years and have seen the company’s success through the years. They feel more confident when they buy from Neal. They see productivity and progress.” Experience shows that home buyers want to be in a neighborhood where things are happening and where other people are buying homes.

“From the buyer’s point of view, it’s all about the whole package. It’s the planning. Our elevations are better. Our streets are better. Neal’s communities look different and feel different,” described Storey. It’s the attention to detail. “We have grass on the lots and the lots are mowed. There are street sweepers in our neighborhoods. Plus, we even paint the backs of the stop signs. It’s that and the 147+ other things we do!”

State Street Mortgage
Neal Communities added a mortgage company in the spring of 2011 when the company entered a joint venture to create State Street Mortgage, Ltd. As an affiliated business, State Street offers mortgages to both Neal new home buyers and other new and re-sale buyers.

Originally founded in Houston, TX in 1993, State Street Mortgage has earned a reputation for stellar customer service. Their innovative “solution center” offers expert advice that aides clients with account management techniques to help them boost their credit scores and qualify.

Charlene Neal PureStyle
Charlene Neal PureStyle has had an outstanding first year in sales. The interior design company launched its new website: http://www.cnpurestyle.com, created 14 new model homes for Neal Communities, and expanded its services to include clients who are not building homes with Neal Communities.

PureStyle won recognition and critical acclaim in both the 2011 Aurora Awards and the 2011 Parade of Homes. The company won an Aurora for the interior merchandising of the Sarantino in Country Club East. In the Parade of Homes, Charlene Neal PureStyle won for the Valor 2 in Central Park, the Moonbeam in River Sound, the Imagination in Belleisle, the Daybreak in Central Park, the Endless Summer in Wisteria Park, and the Westover II in the Country Club in Lakewood Ranch.

The company has worked with nearly 50 clients in the past year and is currently planning design seminars that will be offered in 2012. “My designers and I look forward to sharing our passion for design and experience in the industry,” stated Charlene Neal, Owner of Charlene Neal PureStyle. “We’re anticipating a strong First Quarter and an even more successful overall year.”

Waterscapes Pools & Spas
Waterscapes Pools & Spas also made a splash in 2011. The pool company had 150 completions and 153 sales, exceeding their initial projections for the year. ”We’re planning for 190 residential sales in addition to 4 commercial pools in 2012,” commented John Collier, Vice President of Waterscapes Pools & Spas.

Waterscapes received approval on 132 construction permits this year, with overall completed permits totaling at 142. The company projects 190 residential pool sales and 4 commercial pool sales in 2012.

Awards and Recognition
Neal Communities swept the 2011 Parade of Homes, winning 37 awards—three times the number of awards won by any other builder. University Park Country Club and Charlene Neal PureStyle were named in top positions on SARASOTA Magazine’s Best of Sarasota 2011 Readers’ Poll. Additionally, the Home Builders Association Manatee-Sarasota named John Neal Homes’ Mike Kramer as its Builder of the Year for 2011.

Local publication Living Out East magazine conducted a reader poll where Neal Communities won the top vote for “Best Builder”. Additionally, the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance and the Observer Group named Neal Communities as the winner of the Business of the Year “Sandie” award for 2011. GE Appliances also named Neal Communities the “2010 Single-Family Builder of the Year” in the Florida region.

Community Contributions
Neal Communities continued its strong commitment to local philanthropy. The company gave generously to those causes impacting children, the environment, and human services. “We are committed to creating great communities, not merely building beautiful homes,” stated Pat Neal. “Our buyers, and the community as a whole, deserve the benefits of compassionate outreach”. Neal contributed to schools, community service organizations, children’s sports teams, and even the Humane Society of Manatee County.

Each year, the home builder drafts a plan for community giving and broadens the scope of focus to include dozens of major non-profits as well as grass roots organizations. Stand-outs include B.D. Gullett Elementary School, Willis Elementary School, the Braden River Soccer Club, the Sarasota Heat Softball team, Venice High School’s volleyball program, Palmetto High School’s Rowing Team, Harlee Middle School, and Ward Temple AME Church.

About Neal Communities
Neal Communities is ranked #1 locally by MetroStudy and by Hanley Wood Market Intelligence based on number of home sales. The company is ranked #94 nationally among home builders by BUILDER Magazine. As the area’s largest and most established locally-owned and operated private builder, Neal Communities is continually striving for excellence in every facet of the home building and development business. Neal Signature Homes, John Neal Homes, Charlene Neal PureStyle, Waterscapes Pools & Spas, State Street Mortgage, and Allegiant Title Professionals all contribute to the firm’s continued, record-setting success. With over 8,000 homes built in Southwest Florida, Neal Communities’ honors and accolades include 37 Parade of Homes 2011 Awards, 48 Aurora Awards, 5 Best in American Living Awards, and hundreds of local and regional industry awards. For more information, visit http://www.nealcommunities.com.

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Kelsey Wilson
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