Our region’s affordable cost of housing might surprise you. You have certainly seen glossy advertisements for lavish waterfront estates and sprawling golf course mansions. But, Sarasota actually has housing options within everyone’s price range. Although the real estate market is experiencing an uptick, current pricing is still well below the 2006-2007 housing boom highs.
The median sales price for a single family home in Sarasota County in April 2013 was just $217,000 and the median sales price for condominiums was $185,000. Of course, your choice of neighborhood, housing style, and proximity to the water will impact how much you pay. But, the good news is that you can get to the beach is less than twenty minutes from most Sarasota locations.
When figuring your cost of housing, remember to include homeowner association fees and community assessments within your monthly calculations. Prestigious gated communities and maintenance-free living always bring additional monthly costs. If you don’t need those extra luxuries, Sarasota offers a wonderful selection of three bedroom, 2 bath homes with a pool and a two-car garage costing an average price of $340,000. So, living well can easily be within your reach.
Sarasota housing prices compared to desirable areas around the country:
In mid-2013, according to the website Trulia, here are median prices for three-bedroom, two-bath homes in the following areas:
- San Diego, California $439,000
- Soho, New York $4,552,778
- Washington DC, Shepherd Park $698,300
- Seattle, Washington $727,916
- Fairfield, Connecticut $545,498
- Denver, Colorado $466,636
- Coral Gables, Florida $703,940
In Sarasota, we pay less for electricity than do other areas around the country and within the state. Although the cost will vary depending on your lifestyle, you won’t need to spend a fortune on electricity.
Our main electricity provider in the area is Florida Power & Light. They offer complimentary home energy surveys to help residents become more energy efficient. According to the Edison Electric Institute, when comparing the typical 1,000 kWh residential usage in July 2012 the national average bill was $128.29. FPL came in 26 percent lower than the national average at $94.72. As for winter usage in January 2013 the average FPL bill was $94.25; that’s 25 percent below the national average of $126.11. When comparing rates for electric companies across the state of Florida, FPL’s annual average for a typical residential monthly bill of 1,000 kWh was $94.75 still below the state average of $124.51.
Natural Gas and Propane:
Yes, Florida uses natural gas as well as propane. In fact, we have a buried propane tank in our backyard that provides fuel for our fireplace and kitchen range. Many communities were developed with access to natural gas and use it to fuel ranges, clothing dryers, water heaters, pool heaters, fireplaces and grills. If gas lines are not available in your area you can purchase or rent a propane tank.
If cooking with gas or having access to gas is important to you, have your real estate agent help you to narrow down your home search options. If you are interested in having a generator for backup power supply or to assist with storm fear then having access to natural gas or propane is a real benefit.
Teco Peoples Gas is the main provider of natural gas in our area. But, because you have several options for propane, you should meet with multiple companies to find the best solution for your needs. These companies include: Detweiler’s Propane Gas Service, Inc., Flanders Gas, Inc., and Suburban Propane.
Water & Sewer:
We all need it, but there is no quick easy answer for water and sewer service in our region. Your provider truly depends on your location. The regional list below will assist you in connecting with the provider for your area. Please note that some areas, both rural and urban, are still on private septic and well systems.
For irrigation, your property may draw from a well, reclaim water from a lake/pond or metered water meaning from the tap. Be careful if you begin to water the lawn with a metered irrigation system or you will be shocked when your water bill arrives. Lawn watering may also be restricted because of seasonal drought and conservation requirements. So, always check with your area’s government website to see what the current restrictions are before watering.