Why Sarasota Draws the Moneyed Class of Home Buyers


Outside prime property markets like New York and London, Sarasota and other smaller cities in America and Europe are likewise providing strong allures for wealthy home buyers, observes the Financial Times of London in a recent feature. The paper notes that these offbeat destinations attract the super-rich because “they are discreetly upmarket” and take much pride in their distinctive assets. FT further says that these smaller markets offer exceptional meaning and character as well as unique homes to upscale buyers.

Additionally, Sarasota in particular benefits from the tax breaks that are as a whole available in Florida. In the Sunshine State, there is no tax on income, capital gains, estates, interest or dividends. On primary homes, a homestead tax break likewise applies.

Inflow coming strong

Why Sarasota Draws the Moneyed Class of Home Buyers

An indication of the strong inflow of the moneyed class to Florida has been ascertained by author Travis Brown who wrote the book How Money Walks. According to Brown, the Sunshine State gained the most from the estimated $2 trillion net shift in adjusted gross income across the U.S. from 1992 to 2010. He reckoned that Florida took a $95.61-billion slice of this flow, approximately 3.5 times above Arizona’s take, the second-ranking share from the exodus that mainly came from high-tax states in the Midwest and Northeast U.S.

Brown’s rankings of individual Florida county performance, done for Sarasota Magazine, were likewise revealing. Using adjusted gross income (AGI), his study placed Sarasota at fourth place in terms of attracting AGI, behind Palm Beach, Collier, and Lee counties. U.S.-wide, Sarasota was ranked no. 8 and no. 2 if population growth between 1992 and 2010 is factored in. Collier County topped in this particular ranking.

Multimillionaires’ headcount

Observations from another wealth-watcher, Phoenix Marketing International, also confirmed the high concentration of millionaires—those households with a minimum of $1 million in investible assets—in the North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton metropolitan statistical area (MSA). The New York-based Phoenix Marketing estimated that the MSA has 17,005 of these millionaire households. Using family income, real estate prices and related factors as benchmarks, the company said that Sarasota County has at least 35–40% of these households, with 5,950–6,800 in the $1 million group and 860–980 in the $5 million group.

The U.S. economic recovery and the rebound of the financial markets appear as the main driver for the well-heeled flocking to Sarasota in recent years. According to Sean Snaith, a University of Central Florida economist, wealth in Sarasota, along with Naples and Miami, is correlated with financial assets. Hence, these counties had a head start when the economy and the financial markets started recovering.

Robust home price gains

Rising prices of Sarasota homes for sale valued above $1 million manifests this rebound and the wealthy congregating in the region. In one realtor’s estimate, prices of luxury residences have risen by an average of 15% during the last 12 months. Buying activity was noted as particularly strong from U.S. cash buyers, although British and European buyers are slowly coming back in the Sarasota home market.

Many of the properties which have been gaining attention from upscale buyers are new developments. One is VUE Sarasota Bay located adjacent to Ritz Carlton Hotels and Westin Sarasota. Its location at Gulfstream Boulevard is the gateway to St. Armands Circle and Lido Key.