An original 33 had been shortlisted to work up bids, but two teams pulled out of the race before bids were due back.
One team that did not bid, and asked not to be named, said: 'It was too much paperwork. They wanted an awful lot of detail and we didn't think it was worth it in the end.'
But one group that did tender said: 'I think English Partnerships will be happy with what they've got given the huge amount of work we had to do.
'But I know some teams were really pushed and that makes me think there will be a wide difference in quality.'
Trevor Beattie, corporate strategy director at English Partnerships, said: 'I'm very pleased with the number of submissions we received. Six weeks' worth of work from a large number of builders has just arrived so as you would expect there is a lot to do.'
The bids being judged are for the Oxley Park site in Milton Keynes but shortlisted teams will get the chance to bid for a further nine sites with 1,000 homes planned in total.
Mr Beattie added: 'The panel of judges will make its decision as to who progresses to the next round and we will make an announcement in the next few weeks. We expect there to be around a dozen firms, depending on the quality of entries.'
The public will also be given a chance to comment on the designs when they are posted on the internet. Preferred bidders for the 10 sites will be announced at the end of the year.