For many years my wife and I have contemplated buying a second home in Florida. Whenever we visit my in-laws in Boca Raton, we check out the real estate on the East Coast as far south as Miami and Fort Lauderdale north to West Palm, but we never find anything we really like.
At the same time I have had other friends who have moved and rave about the Gulf Coast.
After doing a lot of research I like what I see in downtown Sarasota, even though I have not yet been there. Next time I go to Florida, though, my plan has always been to discover more of the Gulf Coast, especially Sarasota.
And now, with the recent announcement by Rectrix Commercial Aviation Services that they will be flying from Worcester to Sarasota/Bradenton (SRQ) — through Baltimore; and predicted by yours truly in the Sun — with only a $10 Uber ride remaining, that plan will become a reality next year.
From now till that Rectrix flight next year, don’t forget about JetBlue. America’s fifth-largest airline, which recently marked a significant milestone at Worcester Regional, could always announce SRQ also as a new service.
I am going to do more work on Sarasota, particularly downtown real estate, and will have more updates, but here is my initial baseline look at some typical, two-bedroom condos in the downtown Sarasota area.
- The Alinari located at 800 North Tamiami Trail is about 10 years old, with two bedrooms and 1,441 square feet; listed at $410,000 with an annual estimated tax bill of $4,800 and a quarterly HOA [homeowners association] fee of $1,777 (or $7,108 per year). HOA fees can often cover property insurance, water and sewer; and generally trash, exterior maintenance, roofs, manager, reserves; sometime even cable and pest control. List price per square foot is $309.90.
- The Essex House, located at 707 South Gulfstream Ave., seems to be more like 40+ years old with its two bedrooms and 1,402 square feet. These are listed at $499,000 with an annual tax bill of $2,161 and a quarterly HOA of $1,522 (6,022 annually). List price per square foot is $335.50.
Besides knowing I have a lot more research to do, my initial reaction is: The condo market is slightly higher than I thought, and I need to get a much better understanding of HOA fees.
And with a potential abundance of flights to Florida’s Gulf Coast from Airport Hill, we will be sure to learn a lot more about the Sarasota real estate market in the coming months.
At the same time, I am starting to see a real opportunity for the Worcester real estate market as Worcester Airport expands its Florida service. There are a lot of people who have second houses in Florida and are looking to downsize their primary residence in Massachusetts as their children leave the nest.
The city and its business leaders may have an opportunity to market real estate here as a convenient way to be close to your second house in Florida through Worcester Airport.
Bill Randell started and operates the local news website Worcester Herald, and is the owner and author of FlyORH, a website dedicated to Worcester Regional Airport. He is also president and founder of Worcester-based businesses Advantage Benefits Group and ABG Real Estate.