Haniker Phan and his wife, Judy Liu, chose to buy a new home in Portola Springs because of its many parks and natural open spaces close to home.

IRVINE: ‘THE MOST ENVIABLE MASTER PLAN IN AMERICA’

by TOM BERG

Economist, John Burns

John Burns has analyzed nearly every master plan in the nation.

His nationally acclaimed housing analytics firm ranks the best of them each year.

“Irvine remains the most enviable master-planned community in America,” he says.

“Architects and planners from all around the world come to study Irvine,” he says on a Zoom call from his Irvine office. “They come here to learn from what Irvine Company has done.”

He sees the opportunity to live in Irvine as a finite opportunity – a reality driven by a Master Plan that defines what can be built over time.

“There are very few new-home opportunities to live here,” he says. “But everyone still wants an Irvine address because it is perfectly planned. That drives incredible demand.”

He calls Irvine an “A” location, a designation reserved for very few places in America. To achieve that level, Burns says a place must have more than just a view, but the lifestyle amenities people demand.

“Irvine really has everything,” Burns, an Irvine resident, says. “It’s got jobs, housing, the best schools in the nation, and it’s a coastal location.”

It also has space – and lots of it.

“Irvine’s open spaces are incredible,” he says.

“These lands have been such an important lifestyle amenity, especially over the past year.”

That space also translates to open floor plans and homes with yards – traits that are in high
demand.

 

The ‘freedom’ of space

That’s what attracted Judy Liu and Haniker Phan to their new Portola Springs home. They lived in an Irvine townhome but wanted a yard for their son Adrian, 3.

They found the perfect home at the Bluffs in Portola.

“We loved our townhome, but we wanted more space for our son,” Phan says. “He runs out there and just loves his freedom.”

They’re also outdoor enthusiasts, and Portola Springs is in the ideal location.

“We hike from our house to the natural open space or Portola Springs Community Park,” he says.

“It’s all right there and so close to home.”

Phan also found comfort in the Irvine Master Plan and how it defines what can be built and preserved.

“One of the most important factors for us was that we see the hillsides and the parks, and we know they’ll be open forever. The overall plan drives long-term value.”