A view of condos at Golden Gate Point in downtown Sarasota.

A view of condos at Golden Gate Point in downtown Sarasota.

Don't blame snowbirds for bad traffic. Blame your neighbor.

According to 2020 change of address requests from the United States Postal Service, Cape Coral, Florida, and Sarasota, were the No. 1 and No. 2 places in the country that people moved to. Other migration data sources point to the same conclusion. 

According to a 2020 migration report by U-Haul, the national do-it-yourself moving company, North Port ranked as the top growth city in the country. Florida had five cities on the top 25 destination cities list, with Kissimmee ranking second and Port St. Lucie in third place.

This in-migration has added to our shortage of residential real estate inventory. While Sarasota and Manatee March real estate data shows an increase in home and condo sales over the same month last year, the national data also shows some homeowners are opting out of a seller's market because they're worried about finding another home to move into.

A recent survey of 1,300 U.S. homeowners reveals their plans to sell or hold onto their home in the next 12 months. The results show that:

  • One in five homeowners (20 percent) say they plan to sell their home in the next 12 months. 

  • Nearly 6 in 10 homeowners (57 percent) who plan to sell in the next 12 months are relocating to a different city or state.

  • Top concerns related to selling now include not being able to purchase a home after selling (38 percent).


According to Coldwell Banker Realty agent and broker Roger Pettingell, who's been selling residential real estate in the area for 35 years, the same concern of finding another home applies locally.

“The inventory is the lowest it's ever been by far. Previously, the strongest market I've experienced was in 2003-’04 when we got to record lows, but we've obliterated those now,” he says.

Pettingell points to Florida as a prime choice due in large part to the lack of a state income tax and the pandemic's work-from-home experiment, which allows more flexibility in choosing where to live.

“I can make a lot of cases for why it's a great time to sell, but the biggest reason people don’t is being worried about finding an alternative to move to,” he says.  The lack of inventory, especially in the higher-end market, and the time it takes to buy, renovate and move outweighs what they might gain by selling.

“They don’t want to find themselves in a place where they don't have a nice home. People can sell and get top dollar now, but they’d have to rent in the interim while finding a home they really want. They’d rather buy and move into a home that’s new or renovated already,” he says. “People are appreciating how they're spending their time at home. Just because they can get money now, doesn’t mean they want to lose out on the experience of a ready home.”

What's motivating local homeowners who are choosing to sell?

“More of the people selling in Sarasota are leaving to be near family, going into assisted living or moving off the barrier islands to be closer to the hospital, physicians, and downtown amenities and convenience,” he says. “They're not on the beach or playing golf every day anymore.” 

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