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Is Sarasota an Expensive Place to Live?

While Sarasota does rank among the more expensive places to live in Florida, it balances out with some financial perks.

A sign with text 'Is Sarasota an Expensive Place to Live?'
Is Sarasota Expensive? Lets find out.

If you're considering a move to the Sunshine State, Sarasota might have caught your eye. Known for its crystal blue waters, warm weather, and stunning architecture, it's no surprise that it's been dubbed the best place to live in Florida. But, you might be wondering, is Sarasota expensive to live in?

Well, it's true that Sarasota's cost of living is around 5% higher than the Florida average, and about 6% greater than the national average. The housing costs, in particular, run about 22% higher than the country's average. However, it's not all steep expenses. Sarasota offers more budget-friendly utility costs, about 1% below the national average. So, while Sarasota does rank among the more expensive places to live, it balances out with some financial perks.

Cost of Living in Sarasota

The Ringling Museum, Sarasota FL
The Ringling Museum, Sarasota FL

When it comes to measuring the cost of living, several variables may significantly impact the overall price tag. Alongside lifestyle and the number of kids, the specific neighborhood or metro area, and the state you're in, play a crucial role. Let's demystify the cost of living in Sarasota, FL from your current expenses perspective.

With Sarasota's stunning views and lavish lifestyle, the city has become a beacon for prospective movers. Under the telescope, Sarasota's cost of living is still 6% higher than the national average. But again, when compared with other larger cities, you'd find it pretty affordable.

Being a popular destination, Sarasota's desirability quotient also adds up to its cost. After all, who wouldn't want to live in one of Florida's most beautiful towns that consistently offers so much to its residents and visitors alike?

A glimpse at the breakdown reveals that housing and groceries emerge as the topmost categories impacting the overall cost of living. However, when compared with some other big cities, the scales tip in favor of Sarasota. Surprisingly, it's a significant 40.7% lower than the San Francisco cost of living, and 13.3% less when compared with Fort Lauderdale.

So, if you've been picturing sailboats dancing over Sarasota's blue waters under the sunset, be ready for a slightly higher cost of living. But remember, affordability is often subjective to many factors.

Housing Expenses in Sarasota

Homes in Siesta Key, FL
Homes in Siesta Key, FL

As you set your sights on Sarasota, it's essential to grasp the housing cost landscape of this popular city. When reviewing the cost of living in an area, housing expenses are often the key factor and Sarasota is no exception.

Sarasota's housing market has significantly influenced the overall cost of living. Alongside inflation and economic factors, Sarasota's desirability has bolstered the housing market. As the city has grown from a rich person's winter retreat to a booming metropolis, the price and demand for homes have soared. According to RentCafe, Sarasota's housing expenses are approximately 22% higher than the American average in 2023.

However, this city isn't all about high costs. Utilities, an often-overlooked aspect of living costs, are surprisingly budget-friendly in Sarasota, averaging 1% below the national average. It's easy to see how such savings help balance out the total cost of living and earn Sarasota its status as an affordable option.

Let's look at rental costs. As more people are opting to rent instead of buying, an influx in demand has driven rental prices up. But even then, Sarasota remains less expensive than many other major cities.

To give you a more focused view, here's a snapshot of Sarasota's housing costs from the U.S. Census Bureau:

Housing Factor Cost Against National Average
House pricing 22% higher
Utilities 1% lower
Rental pricing $1,807/month (1 bed)

By incorporating the lower utilities cost, we get a fuller picture of the affordability of Sarasota. But remember, 'affordability' doesn't only consider the financial aspect. It's also about what you get in return: outstandingly beautiful beaches, captivating nature trails, and renowned parks such as Myakka River State Park—surely, some of the best things in life come without a price tag.

Utility Costs in Sarasota

Bayfront Park, Sarasota FL

As you plan your move to Sarasota, understanding the cost of utilities will provide a clearer picture of your total expenses. When it comes to utilities, Sarasota's average is a bit friendlier on your wallet, surprisingly coming in approximately 1% below the national average. This aspect contributes to balancing out the city's cost of living, especially with its housing market trending higher.

This cost includes all your basic utilities, such as electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage. Added to this, you might also want to factor in services like internet access for your home. Broadband, while not categorized as a utility, can be an integral part of your monthly expenditure, depending upon the speed of the internet you opt for. These expenses are vital to consider while budgeting your monthly expenses.

However, as is common in any place, your utility costs can fluctuate based on factors such as your home's location, size, its energy efficiency, season of the year, and personal usage habits. Specifically, months with extreme weather changes can cause your bill to spike due to increased heating or cooling expenditures. For Sarasota, this would typically be during the peak summer months.

Being mindful of these variables will help you adjust your spending habits accordingly. It's important to include possible spikes in utility costs in your financial planning. This way, even when the number on the bills is higher than usual, you won't be caught off guard.

To sum up, while the cost of utilities in Sarasota averages out below the national scale, personal variables can affect the final tally on your utility bill. Thus, as you map out your expenses towards making Sarasota your home, it's essential to remember that affordable utilities are only part of the bigger picture of this city's affordability story.

Other Expenses to Consider

Longboat Key, near Sarasota Florida
Longboat Key, near Sarasota Florida

Aside from basic utilities, there are additional monthly expenses that impact your total cost of living in Sarasota, FL. You might be wondering if it's more expensive than the national averages. Well, let's delve into concrete figures to shed light on this matter.

When moving to a new place, some costs are easier to overlook than others. Monthly utility costs are only a part of the equation. Other significant expenses such as mortgage, auto loan, auto insurance, health insurance, cable/ satellite services, and even your phone bills also factor in.

Let's break down these monthly expenses using reliable data.

Expense Average Cost
Mortgage $1506
Auto loan $546
Auto insurance $174
Average Utilities $259
Health insurance $122
Cable/Satellite $101
Phone $114

It's also important to remember that car insurance rates can fluctuate. In Sarasota, FL the average car insurance policy costs around $286 per month for full coverage. Factors affecting your rate include, the distance you drive annually, accident history, marital status, number of drivers on your policy, and even your credit score.

As you can see, there's more to living in Sarasota than meets the eye. Hence, when you consider relocating, it's essential to analyze all these costs to have a concrete financial plan. While Sarasota may be more expensive to live compared to some national averages, the city also offers unique benefits that might make the extra expenses worth it.

Financial Balance in Sarasota

St. Armands Circle, a popular Dining & Shopping center in Sarasota
St. Armands Circle, a popular Dining & Shopping center in Sarasota

As you navigate through life in Sarasota, your financial situation will have a significant influence on your overall living experience. Knowing the city's median salary and average expenses will help you craft a realistic budget.

According to Payscale, the average salary in Sarasota is around $64,000 per year, and the average hourly wage is $19.72. Top-earning professions like Licensed Practical Nurses and Registered Nurses make an hourly wage of $23 and $30, respectively. The most lucrative industries in Sarasota are:

  • Business and Finance: $34.94/hour
  • Computer and Mathematical: $41.32/hour
  • Healthcare practitioners and technical: $41.48/hour
  • Legal: $46.24/hour

This shows a trend towards higher-wage industries in the North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton area, making jobs in these fields desirable.

Expenses come in multiple forms. For dining, a meal at an inexpensive restaurant averages around $23.00. If you and a companion are up for a three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant, expect to shell out around $75.00. A fast-food combo meal is roughly $9.00, and a regular-sized cappuccino goes for about $4.98.

As for transportation, do you plan on driving around the city? The fluctuating prices of gas, as well as traffic conditions, should be considered. Recently, the highest recorded price for unleaded gas hit $4.889. But, if driving during peak season doesn't appeal to you, Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) is always an option.

Checking where your earnings align with the costs of these essential aspects of living will help you navigate your financial journey in Sarasota. Master this balance, and you're well on your way to a comfortable Sarasota lifestyle.


So, is Sarasota expensive to live? It's all about perspective and how you manage your finances. With an understanding of the median salary and average expenses, you're equipped to create a budget that suits your lifestyle. Whether you're drawn to top-earning professions or prefer a simpler way of life, Sarasota offers a range of options. From dining out to commuting, your costs can vary, but awareness of these factors allows for smart financial planning. Ultimately, living in Sarasota can be as affordable or as luxurious as you make it. It's your financial approach that determines your comfort level in this vibrant city.