The Southwest Florida regional housing market has plenty of little gems that beg to be discovered, but none shine brighter than Anna Maria Island in Manatee County. As one of the northernmost barrier islands in the Sarasota Keys archipelago, Anna Maria Island has been able to achieve a perfect balance as a tourist attraction and a prime collection of residential neighborhoods where high quality of life can still be found at affordable prices.
As a special municipality in the Sunshine State, Anna Maria Island is known for its natural beauty, Old Florida charm, high appeal for newlyweds and honeymooners, conservation efforts, and spectacular real estate offerings. This island attracts home buyers who are planning their retirements as well as families, single professionals, and people looking for second home or an investment property with high potential for rental income.
On the popular travel reviews website TripAdvisor, Anna Maria Island ranks as the most underrated beach town in Florida. Visitors and residents alike enjoy the laid-back, Old Florida lifestyle that this barrier island offers. This is a community where reports about beach sand re-nourishment projects conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the arrival of loggerhead sea turtles to nest make news headlines. Residents here take pride on being designated by the Audubon Society as one of the best bird-watching spots in Florida, and they also enjoy installing energy-conservation devices such as rainwater collection systems and solar panels in their homes.
House hunters looking for prime and diverse real estate offerings should strongly consider putting Anna Maria Island at the top of their lists. This is a small housing market that offers beach cottages from the mid-20th century next to modern Mediterranean-style mansions; there are also Florida ranch-style homes, Key West estates and small Bermuda homes to consider. Luxurious resort-style neighborhoods that cater to anglers, boaters and tennis enthusiast can be found next to family-friendly communities and village-style condominiums that tend to attract artists.
As expected, the beach and nature preserves are the main amenities on the island, but there is a lot more to discover here. At the unique Rod & Reel Pier neighbors can cast a line in the Gulf of Mexico while enjoying Florida-style appetizers and frosty pitchers of beer for under $7.00. Not far from this down-to-earth beach bar is a fancy bistro that boasts Hollywood-caliber patrons such as Edward Asner and Robert De Niro.
Anna Maria Island is a community that eschews high-rise condominium towers and does not seek to attract the rowdy vacationers that flock to Key West or Miami Beach. Most house hunters who visit the island for the first time end up becoming homeowners as soon as they are able to.