Survey: Sarasota rent prices too high

Posted at 5:40 PM, Feb 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-08 17:40:38-05
Recruiting the best and the brightest to come and work in your city can be tough if those recruits can't afford a place to live.
Rent is so high in Manatee and Sarasota counties, according to a survey conducted by the Sarasota Young Professionals Group, that nearly half of their members now say they may be forced to leave.  
Mimi Cirbusova, coordinator of the YPG, is driven, ambitious and has big goals. 
"I'm saving for grad school," she said.
But for her, along with so many young people in Manatee and Sarasota counties, the cost of housing is still a tough issue. Cirbusova and her husband are currently living with family.
"It helps us in a lot of ways," she said. "I think for me personally, it's looking at how can we reach some of our goals and make smart financial decisions."
The Young Professionals Group conducted a survey of its members in August, and the results reveal nearly half of their members are considering leaving the area because rent is just too high.
Many of the hundred respondents expect to rent a one-bedroom apartment for somewhere between $600 and $800. However, in reality, the results show they could be paying closer to $1,000.
"They are saying that it is a challenge for them," Cirbusova said. "That they are facing pricing levels that they need under that $1,000 range."
"That is important to us: To not only get the employees here, but keep them here," said Amy Farrington with the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce
Without access to affordable housing, the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce is concerned they will be unable to recruit some young, talented workers long-term. Many of them want to live near where they they work. The problem is that many millennials are working in downtown Sarasota or Lakewood Ranch so moving out further means longer commutes.
"It's going to be a bigger and bigger issue," Farrington said.
And as Sarasota is tracking the issue of affordable housing, Manatee County is tackling it as well.
They have formed the Manatee Millennial Movement, or "M3." One of the initiative's top issues is affordable housing. The group has already presented a survey and presentation to county commissioners regarding workforce housing. They are also meeting with students at colleges in the area to find out what they can really afford after graduation.