Feb 8, 2002 5:29 AM

Summerlin was rated the best master-planned community in the nation for the ninth time in the last 10 years, according to a national independent real estate advisory.

The west Las Vegas development by the Howard Hughes Corp. had 2,976 new-home sales. The Villages in Orlando was second, selling 30 percent less than Summerlin.

"Summerlin is truly in a league of its own," said Gadi Kaufmann, managing director and chief executive officer of the Robert Charles Lesser, the Maryland firm that conducted the research.

Kaufmann said that Summerlin sells in one year what many communities sell during their entire existence.