Total new-home closings: 3,591 
Population: 748,708

The good: A population burst among those age 65 and older is fueling demand for new homes.
The bad: With this shift toward a niche market, the under $250,000 market subsided in early 2015. 
The bottom line: With continued growth predicted for the next five years and prices trending upward, this market is one worth moving in on.

As the only metro statistical area with fewer than 1 million in population, yet posting more than 3,000 in new-home closings, this area’s numbers are impressive. With new-home starts up 1.6% quarter to quarter and annual starts rising by 2.5% year over year in the first quarter of 2014, increased demand amid those age 65 and older proved to have an impact on market activity, which is expected to continue over the next five years. And with those new buyers comes a shift in pricing focus. Annual new-home starts in prices above $250,000 were up 15.3% for the 12 months ending in March 2015, while those offered under $250,000 dropped by the same percentage. As of March 2015, the supply among finished vacant units for all of Sarasota-Bradenton reached 1.1 months, below Metrostudy's estimated equilibrium range of 1.5 to 2.0 months, indicating this market is moving with momentum and therefore worth getting in on.