Think Sarasota When Downsizing in Retirement


Sarasota remains as one of the favored destinations for those who seek to downsize their residences in order to slash housing costs in retirement. Prices of Sarasota condo units, villas and townhouses, the favored residential styles in home downsizing, still look quite attractive despite the recent price spikes in the home market.

During the first nine months of 2014, the Sarasota median prices of condo units and similar housing types in the resale market have remained under the $205,000 high mark set in the county in July. For September, the median condo price was estimated at $195,000 which compares with the $177,000 in August and $165,000 median price a year earlier. Nationally, the median existing condo price was estimated at $205,200 in September, up 3.2% over a year ago.

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Think Sarasota When Downsizing in Retirement

Exploring purchase opportunities at around these attractive price levels, however, will require the services of a seasoned local realtor as the inventory of available of Sarasota homes for sale continues to shrink. The inventory of single family homes and condos in the county stood at 3,666 units in September, down about 2% from 3,745 in August and 8% below the level last year. The current inventory is approaching the recent low point of 3,644 units set in July 2012.

In terms of months’ supply, September inventory of single family homes slid to 4.0 from 4.1 in August and 4.4 last year. For condos, the September figure was 3.8, unchanged from August 2014 but lower than last year’s 4.0.

Buyer competition remains tight

With the inventory levels still tilted in favor of sellers, multiple offers on the most desirable Sarasota homes for sale continue to be the norm. Competition from cash buyers, typically active at the lower price points, is one particular factor that downsizing home buyers have to reckon with.

Although declining, cash purchases of Sarasota homes for sale are still a major force in the market. In the 2014 third quarter, cash deals in the Sarasota-Manatee home market accounted for 54.5% of total sales of single family homes and condominiums. This slice, which is the third highest among major U.S. metro areas, compares with the 61.3% share in the 2014 second quarter and the 57.2 % in the third quarter of 2013.

Not with standing such market challenges, home downsizing provides many advantages for seniors who are seeking smart ways to wisely manage their retirement savings. Moving into a smaller house or condo can significantly stretch retirement budgets through reduced taxes, utility bills and home maintenance costs. With Sarasota as one of the favored choices, benefits can likewise be derived from the locality’s cost of living which balances well with available amenities such as high-quality health care and ample social, cultural and recreational activities at very affordable rates.

The Glen Oaks Garden Apartments just across the Bobby Jones Golf Course, a Sarasota landmark, is one ideal starting point for downsizing home buyers. A two-bedroom unit here with a floor area of 914 square feet is typically priced under the $100s. This 55+ community has several amenities including a clubhouse, exercise room and swimming pool.

A unit at the Meadowcroft Condo in Bradenton is another likely choice. A two-bedroom unity here with a floor area of 1,230 square feet can be priced at the low $100s. Also a 55+ community, this condo features two lakes, tennis courts and private paved roads, among other amenities.