Sarasota County is home to the city of Sarasota, Osprey, Englewood and Venice. Parts of North Port and Englewood share neighborhoods in Sarasota County while the northernmost part of Sarasota crosses into Manatee County. The most recent census shows a population of 379,448 in Sarasota County, with Sarasota’s population just under 52,000. Although considered a great place to retire, only 34% of Sarasota’s population is over 65.
Sarasota’s economy is strongly linked to tourism and our “snowbird” population. Traffic increases during the winter and falls off almost immediately after Easter. Sarasota attracts other Floridians during the summer months; many from the middle of the state come here for our cooler gulf air and white, sandy beaches. Major employers in Sarasota include Sarasota Memorial Hospital, School Board of Sarasota County, PGT Industries and Publix Supermarkets.
Florida residents enjoy lighter tax burdens that many other parts of the country. Florida residents do not pay personal income tax, inheritance tax or gift taxes. Property taxes are based on approximately 1.5% of the purchase price of the home. When you purchase a home here, be sure to apply for a homestead exemption, which takes $50k off your property’s value when taxes are assessed. Sales tax is 7% in Sarasota.
From January through March, you can expect an average temperature in the lower 70s during the day, and dipping to the lower 50’s at night. If there is a cold wave in the northern states, we can have a few frosty days during the winter, but they never last long. Spring and fall you’ll find temperatures in the 80’s, with the hottest months being July and August, where we hover in the low 90’s. Due to the gulf breezes, Sarasota stays cooler during the summer than the middle of the state.
Hurricane season begins June 1st and lasts until November 30th. Sarasota has never experienced a direct hit from a hurricane since record keeping began back in 1871. The most recent hurricane to create property damage in Sarasota happened back in 1950 when Hurricane Easy hit just north of St. Petersburg on Labor Day weekend. Sarasota experienced 60 miles per hour winds and high tides, and areas like St. Armands and Beach Road were under 1 ½ feet of water. Unlike tornados, earthquakes, and flash fires, residents have several days notice before a hurricane hits, which gives you a chance to prepare your property, stock up on supplies, or evacuate if your home is in an evacuation zone.
The Sarasota County Public Schools are ranked in the top five of all school systems in Florida. There are 51 public schools in the county as well as 25 top private schools. Average SAT scores come in at 1790, which is 80 points higher than the national average. Sarasota County is also home to Pine View School for the Gifted, Sarasota Military Academy, and Sarasota School of Arts and Sciences. At the collegiate level, Sarasota is home to the Ringling College of Art and Design, New College, and the University of South Florida, as well as a number of technical schools.