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Kings of suburbia: Houston boasts two of the top five master-planned communities in America

Kings of suburbia: Houston boasts two of the top five master-planned communities in America

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Katy's Cinco Ranch community Photo via Katyites.com
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The Woodlands amongst its greenery
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Scenic landscapes and trails
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The Houston area is the home to several suburban communities — from Tomball to Pearland, and more. With a city as large and as spread out as Houston, the housing market was bound to flourish and attract families to dwell in these enclaves.

One might ask what the difference is between a master-planned community and a subdivision — or even wonder if they're living in one or the other. Master-planned communities include a large amount of amenities such as bike and jogging trails, lakes, a golf course, etc . . . while a typical subdivision is quite smaller in size and may have a recreation center or park.

 Cinco Ranch has also become the No. 1 community for new home sales in Texas and plans to expand even further with 1,200 new homes. 

It turns out that few do master-planned communities as well as the Houston area. Two of the top five selling master-planned communities in the country are in the Bayou City's shadow. The Woodlands ranks No. 2 in the United States and the Cinco Ranch No. 3 according to data complied by John Burns Real Estate Consulting.

Founded in 1974, The Woodlands started off as one of America's first master-planned communities and it's grown into one of the country's most celebrated. It positions itself against other contenders by emphasizing a unique location that's "nestled amongst a deep native forest, a natural refuge and a place that fosters the best in famly life," in the words of its promotional materials. The Woodlands took the No. 2 spot in the nation because of its 945 home sales in 2011, up from 786 home sales in 2010.

Cinco Ranch, an established community located near Katy, has been able to succeed because it offers a "diverse range of new-home products, fresh model homes, and exemplary schools," according to Heather Gould, the marketing director at Newland Communities, the developer of Cinco Ranch. With this strategy, Cinco Ranch claimed the No. 3 spot with 862 home sales in 2011.

Cinco Ranch has also become the No. 1 community for new home sales in Texas and plans to expand even further with 1,200 new homes, according to real estate tracking firm RCLCO.

Ten other master-planned communities in the Houston area made the Top 50 in the country in sales figures.