The cost of living and housing prices are two metrics to consider when comparing cities. According to the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, the average full-time minimum wage worker cannot afford rent anywhere in the United States due to increased demand for move-in ready housing amid limited inventory. When comparing Sarasota to Tampa, just an hour north, the cost of living is 2.6% higher and home prices are 21% more expensive. Residents of Petersburg and Clearwater have it easier in comparison, with a cost of living 4% lower than Sarasota and housing costs 20% cheaper.
Rents in Sarasota have been steadily rising for nine consecutive months starting in April. If you're considering moving to Sarasota, you should know that the city is home to many retirees who have collected big 401Ks, shares and retirement savings. In addition, 14% of residents are “snowbirds” who flock south during the winter months and head north when the weather warms up. The stunning beaches are the main attraction for visitors to the Sarasota area, with golf coming second.
Serving more than 43,000 students, Sarasota County schools consistently score high, ranking a respectable seventh among state districts according to SchoolDigger. One of Sarasota's most fascinating neighborhoods is Towles Court Artist Colony, a downtown bungalow district on brick-lined streets, founded in the 90s as a live-work haven for artists. Since March of last year, monthly rents have increased 13 percent in Sarasota County and 19 percent in Manatee County. But if you're moving from a northern city, you might consider Sarasota real estate affordable, if not exactly a bargain.