Lakewood Ranch also held the 12th spot nationally in the ranking by John Burns Real Estate Consulting, a firm with offices across the U.S. that specializes in housing research, advice and consulting.
â€œWe are so proud of this top nationwide ranking,â€ said Milt Flinn, president of LWR Communities.
â€œWe know that our strategic master plan -- incorporating our neighborhoods with amenities like parks and schools, shopping and recreation -- is one of the key reasons why Lakewood Ranch is so successful.â€
Lakewood Ranch is an 8,500-acre, master-planned community in Manatee and Sarasota counties.
It is home to more than 15,000 residents.
Among its many features are A-rated schools; a hospital; the Sarasota Polo Club; Main Street with theaters, shopping and dining; and 4 million square feet of commercial property, LWR officials said.
A master-planned community is one that, from the beginning, is strategically mapped to insure walkability, a good fit with businesses and to provide a variety of amenities, according to Candice McElyea, director of marketing and public relations for Schroeder Manatee Ranch, Inc., developer of Lakewood Ranch.
Such advance planning produces â€œa very desirable place to live,â€ she said.
Although every developer has different goals in mind, at SMR, the focus has always been on walkability, she said.
â€œEverything is convenient,â€ she said, adding that children can walk to school and families can walk to parks and to businesses. And thereâ€™s golf in the backyard.
A respect for nature is also a key theme at LWR, she added.
â€œSome developments are not necessarily master planned communities,â€ she said.
â€œThey wipe out all the trees, and put in the homes; in Lakewood Ranch, youâ€™d be hard-pressed to find anything like that: Wetlands, nature preserves, big oaks, and nature is a really, really big part of our master plan here.â€