The year 2021 is now officially in the history books, forever and ever linked to the year 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic. These past couple of years have been very puzzling with illness, how to stay healthy, correction information, fact or fiction, and confusion of what is coming next. SunBird mourns for those who did not make it through this difficult period of time and for those who became sick and may still be suffering from the effects. We are also grateful for the patience of all to get through this unprecedented time.
Beginning this past June, SunBird began slowly having smaller activities with caution. As life has progressively gotten better, the activities have been increasing. This past November was SunBird’s first outdoor music festival. Two bands performed, food trucks were present, beer gardens were located throughout, and people were literally dancing in the streets. The number in attendance was approximately 1,500 people. Many have commented that this was the best event SunBird has ever had. We want to thank all the sponsors of this event and the many volunteers and staff who made it possible. Last but not least, much appreciation goes to our Lifestyle Director, Wendy Weber. Stayed tuned, another huge outdoor event to be bigger and better is in the early planning stages for this April.
SunBird home sales in 2021 surpassed over 150 for the year, missing the record high of 189 sales in 2003. 2021 had the fourth greatest single year of home sales in 25 years. Realtors are reporting lists of buyers looking for homes available in the community. One SunBird home recently for sale had over 60 buyers interested within the first day of listing and sold above asking price. Home prices have appreciated higher than at any other time period in SunBird.
Surveying each new homeowner, it has been indicated that 50% of all home sales in SunBird are first learned of by friends and family of current SunBird residents. The top three reasons people are moving to SunBird are for the facilities and amenities, affordability, and friendliness. These are excellent compliments to our residents and community.
During the year 2021, several large maintenance and improvement projects were completed. For the year 2022 more have been budgeted and planned, to keep our facilities and amenities up-to-date. How are all these improvements and projects paid for? From the Replacement and Capital Improvement Projects Funds.
The Replacement Fund incorporates a report with a list of nearly 150 large replacement and large maintenance items projected over the next 20 years with life expectancy and future cost of each item. This report also includes a savings plan for 20 years to meet these future expenses. This account is funded from primarily two sources: 1) a portion of the existing annual homeowner dues and 2) a portion of each home sales fee. The Replacement Fund is anticipated to have a 2021 year-ending balance of approximately $570,000 and projected to have additional funding in 2022 of $350,000. The Replacement Fund is absolutely the most important tool for the financial success of SunBird’s future, maintaining a proactive approach rather than reactive.
The Capital Improvement Projects account is funded primarily from new home sales annually. These typically are new or upgraded project ideas that originate from homeowners, clubs, committees, staff, and from the study of other new or future needs. The Project Review and Planning Committee reviews and studies all of these ideas for merit and feasibility. After Committee study, these ideas are submitted to the Board of Directors with a full report of cost, impact, and benefit to the community. If approved, these projects are assigned a priority rating and are implemented into the Capital Improvement project schedule as funds are or will be available during the next five years or greater. This fund and process is also a vital tool to properly prepare for constant technology changes, new or improved future facilities, streamlined or upgraded equipment, and other updated ideas to keep SunBird up-to-date and modern. The Capital Projects Fund is funded primarily from new home sales. The 2021 year-end balance of this account is projected to be approximately $35,000 with an annual funding of about $110,000 in 2022. Keeping SunBird facilities in good shape is important to meeting the needs of the residents today and tomorrow.
This time of year we look forward to the many festivities and celebrations both in and outside of SunBird. Let’s always be thankful for our family, friends, and people around us. We are all so fortunate to have the many freedoms and luxuries of life. We sincerely wish everyone a happy and healthy new year!