Real Estate Investing in Naples vs. Sarasota

Southwest Florida is famous for being a dream vacation destination. It has year-round sunny weather, beautiful beaches, fun experiences, and fresh seafood. It doesn’t get much better than that! And, for anyone who visits, it’s clear why Naples and Sarasota are among the top places to visit in SWFL. But for potential investors, the question is much bigger than that: Which city is the better choice to live and invest in? While they share plenty of similarities, understanding the differences between Naples and Sarasota is key to deciding where to do your real estate investing.

The team at Naples Relocation Experts prides ourselves on our ability to guide new and seasoned real estate investors toward success. We’re a triple threat, specializing in real estate, relocation, and investing. We have a proven track record of thriving investment properties – and we want to share everything we’ve learned with you. Today, that starts with helping you decide whether to choose Naples or Sarasota for your next investment property.

Aerial view from a drone of great real estate investing properties in Downtown Naples, Florida
Aerial view from a drone of Downtown Naples, Florida

As specialists in and lovers of all things Naples, we might be a bit biased. That’s why we’re going to show you why Naples is the best choice for real estate investing using only cold hard facts! Keep reading to learn why you should invest in Naples, FL.

About Naples, FL

Naples is located in Collier County in Southwest Florida, perched along the Gulf of Mexico. It’s the principal city of the Naples-Marco Island, Florida Metropolitan Area, also known as Florida’s Paradise Coast. The city was founded in 1886, having previously been occupied by the native Calusa tribe and Spanish settlers. Established as a seasonal vacation destination for wealthy families, Naples is well-known for its white sand beaches, high-end shopping, world-class arts and culture, and sophisticated dining.

About Sarasota, FL

Sarasota is a Southwest Florida city in Sarasota County and is located 117 miles north of Naples along the Gulf of Mexico. Before its “discovery,” Sarasota county was home to some of the oldest Native American tribes on the west coast of Florida, including the Calusa, Tocobaga, and Timucuan people. It was established as a town in 1902. Sarasota is known for its fine dining, circus thrills, pristine beaches, shopping, and eclectic blend of culture.

Real Estate Investing in Naples vs. Sarasota

Part of the appeal of Naples is its exclusivity and prestige. The barrier to entry for living in Naples is larger than Sarasota, as the property values and cost of living are higher.

Naples has historically been a more luxurious and higher-end real estate market than Sarasota. Five years ago, Naples was already outperforming Sarasota. The Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee (RASM) reported the median price in 2018 for a single-family home in Sarasota was $282,500. The Naples Area Board of Realtors (NABOR) showed the median home price in Naples for 2018 at $339,000 – 20% higher than Sarasota.

Single-story Naples waterfront home representing real estate investing property with colorful garden in the front yard
Single-story Naples waterfront home with colorful garden in the front yard

The increased property value in Naples over Sarasota continues today, as well as higher value than housing in the US overall. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) lists the current national median home price at $388,800. According to RASM, the median price for a home in Sarasota County in April 2023 was $520,000. For Naples area homes in April 2023, NABOR lists the median price at $627,500. While Sarasota homes are valued 33.7% higher than the national average, Naples homes are 61.3% higher than the national average and 20.6% higher than Sarasota.

“The way value is illustrated is by market price. The market votes with their wallet,” explained Drew Josephson, Founder of Naples Relocation Experts. “Naples is more expensive because it’s a more desirable place to live.”

Demographics in Naples vs. Sarasota

Naples Demographics (Source: Census Reporter)

  • Income: Median Household Income is $125,306
  • Age: Median Age of 66.3
  • Gender: 53% Female / 47% Male
  • Race: 88% White / 5% Hispanic / 5% Black

Sarasota Demographics (Source: Census Reporter)

  • Income: Median Household Income is $62,615
  • Age: Median Age of 49
  • Gender: 53% Female / 47% Male
  • Race: 65% White / 16% Hispanic / 15% Black

As indicated in the Census data above, Naples residents are wealthier than Sarasota residents. The median household income in Naples is 100.1% higher than Sarasota. 35% of Naples residents also report a household income higher than $200k, compared to 10% in Sarasota.

Sarasota’s population skews younger than Naples. 57% of Sarasota residents are aged 18 to 64, while 53% of Naples residents are 65+. It’s also worth noting that Sarasota has a large population of college students with 11 active undergraduate colleges in the area. Naples has a significantly smaller college population with only 2 active undergraduate colleges.

Lifestyle in Naples vs. Sarasota

Sarasota is bigger and more populated than Naples, making for a much busier and more crowded lifestyle. Sarasota has a land area of 14.7 square miles and an estimated population of 53,786, averaging 3,659.7 people per square mile. Naples has a land area of 12.3 square miles and an estimated population of 19,187, averaging 1,559.4 people per square mile. Despite Sarasota only being 19.5% larger than Naples, its population is 180.3% higher with 134.6% more people per square mile.

December Senior couple walking along Naples beach in December
Senior couple walking along Naples beach in December.

Compared to Sarasota’s lively atmosphere, the Naples lifestyle focuses more on ambiance, arts, and culture. Naples is the epitome of luxury coastal living. It’s a culinary dream with over 700 restaurants to choose from, including elevated fine dining experiences. It’s ranked as the “Golf Capital of the World” by the National Golf Foundation. There are sophisticated and walkable shopping experiences along the famous Fifth Avenue South and Third Street South. Naples also has store locations for luxury brands like Salvatore Ferragamo and Gucci and high-end car dealerships like Rolls Royce, Bentley, and Ferrari. Check out our Naples Relocation Guide to learn more about life in Naples, FL.

While both cities rank lower than the national average for crime, Naples also beats Sarasota in terms of safety. Naples has a violent crime rate of 108.1 and a property crime rate of 515.1. Sarasota has a violent crime rate of 159.8 and a property crime rate of 718.5. Naples was ranked as the #1 Safest Place to Live by U.S. News & World Report.

“When you drive into Naples – whether you’re pulling onto Immokalee Road, Pine Ridge, or Golden Gate Park, the elevated status of the city is clear,” explained Drew. 

Beaches in Naples vs. Sarasota

Naples and Sarasota are both home to powdery, white sand beaches. With six barrier islands lining the coastline, Sarasota has a variety of beaches to choose from, including Siesta Key Beach, Lido Beach Park, Turtle Beach, and Longboat Key. Naples also provides unique beach experiences, from the family-fun Naples Pier Beach and adventurous Clam Pass Beach Park to the romantic Seagate Beach and often-deserted Barefoot Beach Preserve County Park.

Beachgoers on the Naples Pier and walking along the waterline in December
Beachgoers on the Naples Pier and walking along the waterline in December

Sarasota is home U.S. News & World Report’s #1 in Best Beach in Florida for 2023: Siesta Key Beach. However, its popularity often makes for a busy and crowded experience with plenty of traffic. Overall, Sarasota beaches tend to be livelier and more upbeat, while Naples beaches boast more peaceful and serene experiences. Naples beaches also standout for their wildlife spotting and are widely considered as having the best sunsets in Florida.

Schools in Naples vs. Sarasota

Naples encompasses 16 public elementary, middle, and high schools and 26 private schools. Their public schools have 14,271 students and 609 teachers with a 23:1 student-teacher ratio. Sarasota has 27 public elementary, middle, and high schools and 57 private schools. Their public schools have 23,863 and 1,175 teachers with a 20:1 student-teacher ratio.

While Sarasota has a slightly lower student-teacher ratio, Naples schools rank higher in college readiness than Sarasota. Naples scores a 7.7/10 and Sarasota scores a 6.8/10 on U.S. News & World Report’s College Readiness Index.

Hospitals in Naples vs. Sarasota

The Naples area has 5 hospitals and over a dozen urgent care centers. The hospitals are evenly divided from North to South to ensure shorter travel times. Naples has two regionally ranked hospitals. NCH Baker Hospital is ranked #15 and Physicians Regional-Pine Ridge Hospital is #33 for U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals in Florida.

The Sarasota area has 6 hospitals, over 20 urgent care centers, and numerous outpatient care facilities. Sarasota has one nationally and regionally ranked hospital. Sarasota Memorial Hospital is nationally ranked in two adult specialties and regionally ranked #6 for U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals in Florida.

Although Sarasota has a nationally ranked hospital, Naples has two regionally ranked hospitals and shorter travel times. It’s important to also keep in mind that, while Sarasota has one more hospital than Naples, its population is 180.3% higher. Naples has more ranked hospitals as well as more hospital beds per capita.

Ready to begin real estate investing in Naples, FL?

Between Naples and Sarasota, Naples is the best option for longevity and wealth building. Naples has a more established real estate market, higher value homes, wealthier residents, and a superior lifestyle.

Andrew Ventura Drew and Chanel Josephson are the Naples Relocation Experts
Andrew Ventura Drew and Chanel Josephson are the Naples Relocation Experts

Our team can guide you through every step of the investment process, from finding the right investment property to connecting you with trusted local contractors.
Contact Naples Relocation Experts today, and begin your real estate investing journey in Naples, FL.

Drew Josephson
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