'A lot of optimism' for Tour of Homes

Potential homebuyers along with those curious about new architectural trends and others looking for decorating ideas are expected to view 36 model homes as the 10th annual Lakewood Ranch Tour of Homes kicks off today.

For some, it will be the first chance to catch a glimpse of Lakewood Ranch's most exclusive community to date, The Lake Club.

"There will be an abbreviated registration process at The Lake Club," said Sondra Guffey, spokeswoman for LWR Communities.

Those looking to participate in the self-guided tour can pick up a brochure including maps and detailed statistics about all of the homes at the Lakewood Ranch Information Center at 6220 University Parkway.

The tour is part of a three-week celebration that focuses on Lakewood Ranch.

Traditionally, the tour has been a two-week event but the community extended it this year in an attempt to attract more traffic. "We decided people are going to start buying again. This is it, this is the time," Guffey said.

By showcasing not only homes but other aspects of the Lakewood Ranch lifestyle, as well, Guffey and the 15 participating builders hope to attract new buyers.

"The pulse of the Realtors I get is there are more showings on everything right now and there's a lot of optimism. A lot," said Gail Shane, Realtor liaison for Neal Communities.

Neal Communities has the most homes of any other builder with 10 entries, all located within The Country Club at Lakewood Ranch.

One of The Lake Club homes featured on the tour is John Cannon Homes' Camira model.

"We're excited about the possibility of increased traffic. I feel like the market is moving," said T.J. Nutter, chief operating officer of John Cannon Homes.

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