Sarasota among state's most expensive cities

A recent study confirmed what locals already know: Sarasota living doesn’t come cheap.

FloridaRentals named Sarasota the fifth-most expensive city in the state — behind Tampa, Gainesville, Orlando and Miami. The list comes only a few months after U.S. News & World Report dubbed Sarasota the best place to live in Florida.

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The study measured average yearly personal income against common living expenses, assigning each city a corresponding index score to determine where it fell on the list. Sarasota received a score of 47.39 based on its annual income average of almost $70,000 and the cost of housing, utilities and transportation as well as the price of common purchases like a movie ticket, a new car, and a pack of cigarettes.

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Hollywood, with an average per capita income of $73,500, ranked as the cheapest city in Florida, posting an index score of 61.29. It was followed by Fort Myers, Boca Raton, Bradenton and Melbourne.

Though the 29 cities in the study were ranked from cheapest to most expensive, the frontrunners don't necessarily post the lowest numerical cost of living — just as the back end doesn't have the highest. Hollywood's cost of living, for example, is 12% higher than the national average, while Gainesville — the list's second-most expensive city — has only a 2% higher cost of living than the national average.

Numbeo, a cost-of-living database used in the Florida Rentals study, calculated the monthly cost of living for a Sarasota resident at almost $1,200 without rent. The average rent price across all properties citywide is $2,900, according to data from Zillow. Overall, data from Payscale puts Sarasota's cost of living 5% higher than the national average.

Contact Herald-Tribune Growth and Development Reporter Heather Bushman at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @hmb_1013.

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