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Since debuting late June 2013, Rancho Mission Viejo’s first village, Sendero, has sold 665 out of 941 homes and about 1,175 residents have moved into the neighborhood. Photo: Brian Park
Since debuting late June 2013, Rancho Mission Viejo’s first village, Sendero, has sold 665 out of 941 homes and about 1,175 residents have moved into the neighborhood. Photo: Brian Park

By The Capistrano Dispatch

In just over a year, San Juan Capistrano’s newest neighbors in Rancho Mission Viejo’s first village of Sendero have begun to make themselves at home, and if recent housing trends continue, more are likely on their way.

Sendero debuted late June 2013 to much fanfare, with more than 10,000 homebuyers attending its grand opening, according to ranch officials. Since then, around 665 of the 941 homes available for sale have been sold and about 1,175 residents have moved into 470 homes.

In addition to attending community-wide events, Sendero residents have already begun fostering their own sense of neighborhood spirit. To celebrate the Fourth of July, residents spontaneously organized an Independence Day parade, replete with pets dressed up in red, white and blue and children being pulled down streets in wagons.

“For us, that’s gratifying and it demonstrates we’ve achieved the success any master plan community developer wants to see,” said Dan Kelly, Rancho Mission Viejo’s senior vice president of governmental relations. “The community is successful and it’s great to be able to drive down there and see people populate it and enjoy it.”

About 25 percent of homebuyers are coming from existing cities and communities developed by Rancho Mission Viejo, including Mission Viejo, Ladera Ranch and Rancho Santa Margarita. Kelly said home sales have seen a “good solid increase over time,” and construction is ongoing in some neighborhoods, including a 286-unit apartment complex across Antonio Parkway.

Kelly said steady job growth in Orange County and low interest rates have made it a good climate to buy homes. He also attributed much of Sendero’s early success to its intergenerational model. Within Sendero, there’s the 55-plus gated community of Gavilan, comprised of primarily single-story homes in four neighborhoods. Already, one of those neighborhoods, built by Del Webb, has been sold out.

“There are a lot of people who are in that age group who had perhaps been in a home for a long time and were looking for something new,” said Kelly. “The market is not a monolithic one. It’s not one big group. We tried to make sure we were addressing all needs.”

Sendero’s variety of homes, as well as its proximity to outdoor amenities, makes it an appealing option for all family types, said Buck Bennett, president of SeaCountry Group. The company has just over 100 homes in the community, all two stories and ranging in price from $570,000 to $625,000. Last month, they sold 10 homes in two weeks and 49 of 51 homes that have been released since the grand opening.

“It’s just been a big success for us,” Bennett said. “We’re coming out of one of the biggest recessions and other parts of Southern California aren’t selling this well. There are times when things are slower, but even during the bad months, we basically had a sale a week. It’s just been a big success.”

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