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Sarasota region ranks No. 22 for starter home availability

North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton is ranked the 22nd best mid-size MSA in the country to find a starter home and eighth best among its peers in Florida.

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Among the nation’s 80 mid-size metropolitan statical areas, North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton ranks as the 22nd best to find a starter home, according to a recent study by industry publication Construction Coverage.

To determine the rankings, researchers calculated a composite score from several real estate metrics — median sale price of homes with three bedrooms or fewer, percentage of homes with three bedrooms or fewer, months of supply in the market and the rate of home ownership for householders younger than age 35.

While recent trends in the Sarasota-area market have been challenging, buyers have struggled with affordability for decades as the rate of growth in home values has outpaced that of household incomes over the last 20 years. From 2020 to 2021, that is compounded by median home values increasing by 37.8%, while the median household income grew by 8.78%.

Supply has been another constraint for first-time buyers. Exacerbating a shortage in houses overall, builders are building fewer smaller, more affordable homes. While single-family one- or two-bedroom homes represented 24.1% of new construction  in the mid-1980s nationally, it is 6.2% today. Over that same span, the share of four-plus bedroom new construction homes grew from 19.3% to 49.6% of the total market.

In the North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton MSA, the percentage of homes with three or fewer bedrooms is 82.4% at a median sale price of $455,161. The home ownership rate for younger than age 35 householders, though, is 4.5%

Seven Florida mid-size markets ranked ahead of the local area in the study. They are Ocala, No. 8; Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, No. 11; Port St. Lucie, No. 13; Cape Coral-Fort Myers, No. 19; Naples-Marco Island, No. 20; and Lakeland-Winter Haven, No. 21. Trailing are Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, No. 23; Tallahassee, No. 34; and Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, No. 35.

All research was conducted prior to Hurricane Ian, which may affect heavily impacted areas going forward. The full study is available here.


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