OCBJ: Virtual Tours, Online Sales Boost New Home Co. in RMV

By Katie Murar

14 Sales Made Despite Stay-at-Home Restrictions 

Despite recent headwinds to the home sales market, including ongoing stay-at-home orders and economic uncertainties, one Orange County builder reported strong initial sales for its community within Rancho Mission Viejo.

Aliso Viejo-based New Home Co. (NYSE: NWHM) said last week it has sold out the grand opening phases of Sterling, the last community to be built within the RMV village of Esencia, after postponing the debut of its model homes originally planned for late March.

New restrictions resulted in a sales strategy switch up for New Home Co. and other local builders looking for ways to gain traction from buyers, many now unable to view the home in person. 

Sales tactics for the builder, Orange County's second-largest public homebuilder with a market value of about $57 million, included virtual tours, a new online sales concierge program, and personal private tours available by appointment only. 

As a result, the company said it has seen "brisk sales in the first three phases at Sterling," selling 14 homes to date. The collection of two-story, single-family residences will ultimately total 62 homes.

"The health crisis made it imperative that we implement solutions to keep our homebuyers and our team members safe, clearly our number one priority," said Joan Webb, chief marketing officer.

"The success at Sterling has shown us that even during this unprecedented time, there is a true demand for family-oriented, well-designed homes in South Orange County." 

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.

Rienda on Track

Sterling is the final neighborhood to open at Esencia and will be the last new homes built in Rancho Mission Viejo for over a year. 

The 3,000-home 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.

Next up: Rienda, a 2,700-home project with a cumulative value in the neighborhood of $2 billion.

Rancho Mission Viejo previously told the Business Journal it is still on track to begin construction by the end of the year, or early next, with the first, 670-home phase of Rienda slated to begin delivering by 2022.