Often perceived as a location for retirees, the job outlook in Sarasota is drawing a younger crowd who want to live their lives in the sun too. Neighborhoods for first time homebuyers range from those on the beaches of Siesta Key to the lush green of Lakewood Ranch. Home of the University of South Florida/Sarasota campus, The Ringling School of the Arts and the Sailor Circus, Sarasota draws people from across the globe to its azure waters, moderate climate, artistic history and small town feel.

The miles of waterfront that edges Sarasota Bay and the Gulf of Mexico offer a coastal paradise to all residents of the area. The diverse neighborhoods spread from the far wooded Eastern edges of the county to the island homes of Siesta Key, Bird Key, Longboat Key and St. Armand’s Key.

Young professionals who are first time homebuyers will find many opportunities to own in the best neighborhoods in Sarasota.

Lakewood Ranch

A planned development, East of Interstate 75 the neighborhood of Lakewood Ranch is situated on the Sarasota, Manatee county borders. Homes in the area include townhomes to estate homes that include young professionals to empty nesters living throughout the 8,500-acre community. Planned green spaces and recreational activities include playgrounds, pools, and polo. There are miles of hiking trails for the outdoor enthusiast as well as kayaking on lakes, rivers, the Gulf of Mexico and golf for those who enjoy a round on the links.

A green community, new construction in Lakewood Ranch follows Florida Green Building Coalitions standards giving their residents a green home in a green environment that is lush and tropical. The median age of Lakewood Ranch residents is 41 and their median income is $70,000 per year. One of the best neighborhoods in Sarasota, the well planned Lakewood Ranch development is a perfect place for young professionals to call home.

Pine Shores

Affordable property in the older Pine Shores neighborhood allows local residents an easy walk to Siesta Key across the South Bridge. Housing in Pine Shores is in the low $100’s putting the homes in the area within easy reach of first time homebuyers and young professionals while affording them easy beach access. The sleepy 1950s air of Pine Shores will appeal to many homebuyers, although the community is not as amenity rich as many newer neighborhoods.

Gulf Gate village is within walking distance of Pine Shores and offers shopping, dining, gourmet food, clubs and entertainment. Younger buyers will find Pine Shores appealing due to lower priced homes that are near the beach and other popular amenities. The median income for residents in Pine Shores is $78,449 and the average homeowner age is 61, however, younger professionals are finding homes in Pine Shores that fit the criteria for first time buyers making it one of the best neighborhoods in Sarasota.

Indian Beach / Sapphire Shores

Located near the historical Ringling Estate in Northern Sarasota, Indian Beach – Sapphire Shores is one of Sarasota’s Bay front communities. Populated with homes from the 1920s, with all of the character of older Southern homes, to mansions on and off the Bay, Indian Shores also offers homes that are moderately priced and suitable for young professionals.

Its location, near the Ringling Estate as well as the University of South Florida, Sarasota, and the Ringling College of Art and Design makes Indian Shores a desirable area for college professors and students. The location along Sarasota bay offers waterfront access for boating, fishing or watching a glorious Florida sunset. The average median income of residents is $29,980 and the median age is 39.4. The Indian Beach-Sapphire Shores community has the lowest median age of the listed Sarasota neighborhoods and is a good place to begin home ownership in Sarasota.

Siesta Key

With shorelines on both the Gulf of Mexico and Sarasota Bay, Siesta Key is a sun worshipper’s cathedral. The pristine white beaches, gourmet and not so gourmet restaurants and nightlife of the island, attract visitors and residents alike to a home in paradise. Siesta Key offers condominiums, bungalows and mansions, but for the avid beach goer and life on Siesta Key is within the reach of young professionals.

Laid back, with a resort type atmosphere, every day is a vacation when you live on Siesta Key. The population is truly diverse, with residents and guests from across the globe. Opportunities for dining are abundant but shopping on Siesta is limited. However, a short drive across the bridge gives you all of the shopping you want in Sarasota, and a trip St. Armand’s Key offers boutique shopping and fine dining. The median income of Siesta Key residents is $78,449 and the median age is 47.2. Sun loving young professionals will love calling Siesta Key home.

Gillespie Park

Quaint and in its renaissance period, the neighborhood of Gillespie Park is close to down town Sarasota. With 1950’s and 60’s ranch style homes, renovated classic 1920’s bungalows some new construction and small apartment buildings, first time buyers will find many options in Gillespie Park. Home to young professionals, artists, and entrepreneurs who have found opportunities with the current activity in the area, the diversity of the community is noticeable. Named in honor of the first mayor of Sarasota, John Gillespie, the park of the same name is at the center of the neighborhood and boasts a lake with a fountain. Dining and shopping can be found within the community or you can take advantage of Sarasota’s nightlife, which is a short walk from Gillespie Park. The median income of Gillespie Park residents is $34,234 and the median age is 51.1. For the artist, entrepreneur or young professional, Gillespie Park is an up and coming place to call home in Sarasota, so be sure you get there first.