When it comes to pricey homes, Sarasota-Bradenton trumps Tampa Bay

As metro areas go, Tampa Bay has a lot in common with the neighboring Sarasota-Bradenton-North Port region.

Both have beautiful beaches, fine restaurants, high-end retailers and impressive offerings of art and culture. Both also have multitudes of gorgeous homes — but there, the similarities end.

Living in luxury costs a lot more south of the Sunshine Skyway bridge.

Since January, 13 homes in the Sarasota-Bradenton area have sold for more than $5 million. In the much larger Tampa Bay area — none. Of homes priced from $2 million to $5 million, 131 have sold in Sarasota-Bradenton this year compared with 67 in Tampa Bay.

Of course, the vast majority of residents on Florida’s Gulf Coast can’t afford anything approaching those amounts. But why luxury home buyers choose one area over the other reveals a lot about how each area is perceived in terms of more down-to-earth metrics like transportation, entertainment and general livability.

Since the 1920s, when circus baron John Ringling and the Fields of department store fame made Sarasota their winter home, that city has continued to draw well-heeled retirees, celebrities and corporate tycoons.

“It’s like when you go to Naples and Palm Beach, you have these pockets (of wealth) that started a long time ago,” said Realtor Alex Jansen, CEO of Coastal Properties Group in Pinellas County. “Sarasota has been ahead of our market for a long time as far as luxury properties go.”

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About Author

John William is a cum laude graduate of the University of Miami, and has spent his lifetime in sales and marketing. The fourth generation to join his family business, John William manages all luxury residential sales and transactions within the Tampa Bay and South Florida markets. A keen industry insider with a finger on the pulse of the area, He is an expert identifying high-return acquisition and development opportunities for hungry investors both large and small while simultaneously working with homeowners and homebuyers to buy and sell the home of their dreams… often times without the need of the MLS or a For Sale sign. He also oversees all digital and print marketing for the company, and handles all sales training for new and established agents alike. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Brookwood Florida, the oldest charity in Florida, and works to raise millions of dollars annually for local charities and museums.