October Surprise and Oyster Bay

By Robert Plunket October 7, 2009

Thanks, Today Show. Now, about Oyster Bay.

By Robert Plunket

Click here to see our Real Estate Junkie discuss Oyster Bay on ABC7.

Finally a blessing that isn’t in disguise. The Today Show declared Sarasota the No. 1 housing market in the country. Barbara Corcoran, their version of me, said we have the best buys and that the bargains are being snapped up fast. Then she and Al Roker went on to praise our town’s “sophisticated” lifestyle and beautiful beaches.


This may well go down as the moment where everything changed. The bottom was officially hit and now things are turning around. It has to be true—the Today Show said so. So if you’re thinking of buying one of those ludicrously underpriced bargains, jump on it. Prices are climbing weekly and by the end of the year they very well may not be bargains anymore.


This ties in neatly with this week’s topic. I got an e-mail from Dan in New Jersey and he’s thinking of moving here. He wants to know my take on Oyster Bay. My take is— here’s a great neighborhood you probably couldn’t afford a couple of years ago. Now you suddenly can. But you have to act quickly.


Every town has a neighborhood like Oyster Bay. It’s where the Old Money lives. The town’s doctors, bankers, lawyers. It’s discreet to the point of understatement, and the lifestyle is conservative and traditional. Nothing flashy here, and if it has a flaw, it’s that it seems more at home in Atlanta or Dallas. The sultry excitement of subtropical Florida isn’t quite there, the way it is in Lido Shores or Longboat Key.


Oyster Bay is anchored by the Field Club, the most exclusive club in town (tennis, swimming, boating, but no golf) and one of the few (maybe the only one in town) that you can’t buy your way into. I’m told that people who belong to the Field Club aren’t allowed to talk about it. This may seem a little extreme, but every time we try to write an article about it we are met by a brick wall of silence.


Anyway, let’s take a look at two houses currently on the market in Oyster Bay that exemplify its style. The first is a substantial brick contemporary/traditional built in 1988 and located at 4577 Camino Real. It’s big, at 3,841 square feet, with three bedrooms and three-and-a-half baths. It has a pool and nice trees.

What makes it particularly noteworthy is an expansive entertaining area—living room, dining room, family room—that flows continuously for what must be 70 feet. The kitchen is light and pleasant; there’s a cozy office upstairs and a big master suite on the ground floor with a particularly spacious bath. The house has a very luxurious feeling without the pretension that the newer McMansions have.


It’s priced at $1,150,000. The listing agent is Pat Mudgett at (941) 320-7758.


Oyster Bay fronts the bay and the homes on the water are among the most expensive in Sarasota. But there is also a very pretty lake right in the middle of things, and the homes on the lake are really the heart and soul of Oyster Bay. There is one on the market at 1606 North Lake Shore Drive, and from the outside it borders on the unassuming. But once you get inside it turns into a light-filled, impeccably maintained ranch with a stunning view out to the pool and then the lake. This house dates back to the 1960s, but I am amazed at what good shape it is in. It’s a beautiful remodel done in the best possible taste. The current owners have given it an English antique look (very Oyster Bay) but it could easily be adapted to something more contemporary. The third bedroom is tucked away by the kitchen, perfect for a maid’s room (and Oyster Bay is one of the few places in town where you could imagine people still having a live-in maid.)



This house’s pricing history is exactly what Barbara Corcoran is talking about. It started out at $899,000. Now it’s down to $699,000. For more information call Jena Carver. Her number is (941) 343-7953.

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