Sweet spot

New 'Attainably Priced' Homes Are Headed to Sarasota and Manatee Counties

These single-family homes are filling a much-needed sale price gap. Sarasota's median prices are currently $535,000, and Manatee's are $515,000.

By Kim Doleatto August 31, 2023

A rendering of a Simply Dwell Homes single-family home, priced in the mid-$300,000s

Not so long ago, a house in the mid-$300,000s was considered on the pricey side for the average worker. But with Sarasota County’s median single-family home price now at $535,000, and Manatee County's at $515,000, that’s no longer the case.

Simply Dwell Homes, an independent subsidiary of Neal Communities, is spearheading several new construction projects offering homes in the $350,000 range. Among them is a small but much-needed seven-home project hugging the corner of North Orange Avenue and 35th Street, across from Booker High School in Sarasota.

Although Simply Dwell Homes is in the business of building larger, new construction sprawl projects—like Broadleaf in Parrish, which will have 266 homes at buildout—the target market for the seven new single-family homes is teachers, administrators and first responders who work at the school.

“Booker is a prototype project we’re starting with, and we’d like to continue to do more infill like this when possible,” says Jag Rupnarain, Simply Dwell Homes' division president. “The idea is to live where you work." As such, those who work at the high school get first dibs. It's a much-needed addition amid a local housing affordability crisis.

"Hitting an average price of $350,000 is very difficult to do with new construction in this market. Where we're building, you couldn't buy an old home that needs a remodel for less than $400,000," Rupnarain says.

"Simply Dwell Homes is working with 11 Booker High School teachers who are interested and working through the financing process to see what their needs are and what they can afford as far as home configuration," he says. "But it's still too early to tell whether they’ll be finalized. I hope so." 

The site across from the high school has long been vacant, with a couple of condemned houses awaiting demolition. Groundbreaking on the homes is scheduled for roughly three weeks' time, depending on permitting, and the aim is to be substantially finished building in December. 

There are 30 configurations for owners to choose from, and homes can go up to two stories. They're built to the latest hurricane codes and have cement block on the bottom and wood framing up top. The homes will range in size from 1,300 square feet to 2,500 square feet and have two to five bedrooms.

For updates, click here.

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