New-construction townhomes in North River Ranch in Parrish offer buyers an option for less than $300,000.

Move over, luxury market—homes priced at less than $300,000 are selling like hotcakes.

It’s no secret the real estate market in Sarasota and Manatee counties is on fire. And as prices soar, home buyers are willing to move a little further outside of central city lines to find the holy grail combo of affordability and availability.

Turns out, the holy grail can be found in North River Ranch’s Riverfield neighborhood in Parrish, where, following a virtual grand opening on May 27, a five-unit building built by Neal Communities quickly sold. The three-bedroom, two-bathroom townhomes with a one-car garage are 1,790 square feet and were priced from the $200,000s. (The average sales price was $283,000.)

Those price tags are in sharp contrast to those in Sarasota and Manatee.

In Sarasota County, the median price for a single-family home is $380,000—a 21 percent increase over the same time last year. In Manatee County, the median price for a single-family home is $405,000, an increase of 19 percent over last year.

For many local buyers, those Parrish prices are a deal to steal. “A home that sells for less than $300,000 is probably the most sought-after thing in real estate right now, because rents are skyrocketing now as well," says Alex Krumm, president of the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee. "Buyers are competing with snowbirds buying second homes and downsizing baby boomers moving to Florida, along with a short inventory."

“Plus, they’re not able to find a home under $300,000 in Sarasota or Bradenton," he continues. "That money goes a long way if you go just out of town.”

The price point is attracting younger home shoppers, and “85 percent of buyers are families,” says John Neal, president of Neal Land & Neighborhoods, the developer spearheading the project. 

Parrish is located just northeast of Bradenton and is growing fast, with a public elementary school and high school that both opened in 2019. A new State College of Florida campus is also slated to open soon.

The kitchen in one of the new townhomes in North River Ranch's Riverfield neighborhood where houses start from the low $200,000s.

The kitchen in one of the new townhomes in North River Ranch's Riverfield neighborhood where houses start from the low $200,000s.

North River Ranch is a master-planned community on 2,600 acres and will have single-family homes, townhomes and apartments ranging in price from the low $200,000s to the $900,000s. Residents will share amenities like a pool, the community-wide trail system, a free bike sharing program and an edible garden trail.

The project aims to become “a master-planned community with multiple subdivisions geared toward people of different ages and incomes,” says Neal. Its goal is to get neighbors to engage with each other.

"People need connection now more than ever since we've been shut in our houses," Neal says.

The next Riverfield building will be on the market later this month, with an additional six units available for purchase; Neal Communities' growing potential buyers list has first dibs. Once completed, North River Ranch will have 6,000 units.

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