Options as Sarasota Wrestles with Low-Cost Housing


SARASOTA, FLORIDA, August 19th, 2015 – Prospective buyers of low-priced homes need not fret even as it may take a while before Sarasota County is able to update its omnibus comprehensive plan under which issues on housing affordability are being addressed. One source of apprehension is that it was only in July 2015 that a housing workshop was held as part of the county’s effort to help craft policies “encouraging the development of affordable, safe and sanitary housing.” The process focused in particular on “special needs populations” or low-income folks often left out in the market for Sarasota homes for sale.

Currently, many of Sarasota’s incentives aimed at promoting housing for low-income consumers are either unworkable or unattractive to developers, market analysts believe. The situation, they say, wasn’t helped any when the County Commission waived requirements on affordable housing for a number of property developments, including some large projects.

Housing as community infrastructures

Options as Sarasota Wrestles with Low-Cost Housing

Two proposals from former County Commissioner Jon Thaxton stand out among early suggestions presented on low-cost housing. One is planning service-and-workforce housing in the same way as community infrastructures, such as utilities, roads and schools, are planned. Allocating a specific and substantial percentage of the yearly gain in the county’s residential tax base is another possible solution the ex-commissioner suggested.

Notably, the Sarasota County Commission need not look too far for successful models on low-cost housing. In neighboring Manatee, there are already a number of existing programs in support of affordable workforce housing. Under these programs, applicants can seek assistance for home purchases priced at a maximum of $201,600.

With this price cap, however, prospective buyers in the lower-income levels may still be shut out from opportunities in many of the new developments which have proliferated in Sarasota recently. What developers are now eager to fill following the economic recovery is the rising demand for expensive housing which have better margins than low-cost homes, market analysts contend.

Resale homes instead of new builds

Nevertheless, smart buyers of low-priced Sarasota residential properties need not wait for definite county actions to make housing more affordable to the low-income consumers. For the determined buyers, the logical step would be opting for a resale house which often costs less than new builds.

Besides the more affordable range of choices, pre-owned Sarasota homes for sale typically provide mature landscaping as well as charm and history. The character of the resale homes’ neighborhood is also already well-established and easier to gauge if these fits the needs and preferences of the buyer. Such factors as traffic and proximity to commercial areas and schools are already well-known too.

Necessarily, the services of an expert local realtor are among the prerequisites in bagging a superb low-priced deal on pre-owned Sarasota homes for sale. At the current resale housing market, properties in the low-priced segments are the fastest selling, with deals often struck just a few weeks or even mere days after their listing in the MLS. With the help of a professional broker-agent in synch with affordable buying opportunities, prospective home buyers thus need not wait for firm government initiatives for low-cost housing.