Market snapshot: Saddle Creek, Sarasota



Five miles east of Interstate 75, right across from the Sarasota National Cemetery on Clark Road, lies one of Sarasota's most peaceful and charming neighborhoods.

Saddle Creek is an equestrian community with the tranquility of traditional country living.

Horses and cattle graze serenely in paddocks and pastures dotted with 100-year-old oaks. Many of the properties have gated entrances with long, winding driveways leading to the homes. FOR A GALLERY CLICK HERE

Homes in Saddle Creek can be very large or modest. (Staff photo / Harold Bubil)

Homes in Saddle Creek can be very large or modest.
(Staff photo / Harold Bubil)

Saddle Creek has 168 homes, all situated on large plots of land — HOA regulations require them to be a minimum of 5 acres. As a result, there is plenty of room for fishing in ponds, walking in wooded areas and roaming in scenic meadows surrounded by three-board fences.

The more than 30 miles of equestrian trails winding through the neighborhood encourage lots of horse riding.

Residences have to occupy a minimum of 2,500 square feet under air.

Built in a variety of architectural styles, there are more two-story homes than in most Sarasota neighborhoods, as well as red brick houses that you would typically see in Georgia, contemporary dwellings, large equestrian estate houses and sizable, single-story ranches ranging from four to six bedrooms and four bathrooms.

Regulations allow two detached structures on each property, and many have barns, caretaker residences or mother-in-law apartments on the premises.

Saddle Creek appeals to retirees, empty nesters and families with children — anyone who likes having breathing space.

"The ideal buyer is someone who wants to be close to town but also have plenty of elbow room," said Brandy Coffey, a real estate broker for Keller Williams, who has a house listed at 7842 Saddle Creek Trail.

"If you have kids or grandchildren, it's a lot of fun."

Rosemary Chapura, a mortgage loan officer at Regions Bank on Cattlemen Road, agrees. She and her family have been living in Saddle Creek for seven years. Not only is it just a 10-minute drive from work for her, but her 12-year-old son has plenty of space to ride his four-wheeler and play without her having to worry about traffic.

"We have friends here whose kids are active in 4-H, raising goats, pigs and steers in their barns," she said. "A lot of kids enjoy riding horses, too."

At the same time, there is a friendly community atmosphere.

"On Sundays, it's fun to have your coffee on the porch and wave to people driving by in their surreys and two-wheel horse carriages," Chapura said.

"It's a very civilized neighborhood."

Chapura also likes the abundance of wildlife.

"Almost every day, we see deer grazing in the yard, the mamma with her babies under the tree," she said.

"We drive with our heads on a swivel, watching for the deer crossing the road."

It's not unusual to encounter bobcat, foxes, coyotes and the occasional Florida panther and alligator. Water birds gather around many lakes and ponds, and a variety of hawks and eagles soar above the neighborhood.

"We keep the Florida wildlife guide handy. My son can name most every snake by its design and coloring," she said.

"We have pigmy rattlers and want them because they take care of the rodents. You learn to be safe, but you can't live out here and be phobic about it."

Although Saddle Creek is well off the beaten track — Myakka State Park is only four miles east — it is not in the middle of nowhere. Twin Lakes Park, just down Clark Road, offers opportunities for the children in the neighborhood to play in soccer, football and baseball leagues.

Siesta Key's beaches are only 20 to 30 minutes away, as are major shopping centers, restaurants, banks, hospitals and, importantly, feed and tack stores.

Still, the closest grocery store is the Publix across from Rothenberg Park on Bee Ridge Extension, so residents have learned to pay attention in their comings and goings.

"It's the kind of community where you don't want to forget to pick up that gallon of milk on your way home," Chapura said.

Similarly, with Saddle Creek being in the Lakeside Elementary, Sarasota Middle and Riverview High school districts, many parents help chauffeur their children.

"It's a long bus ride, and we take our son to school on the way into work," Chapura said.

Considering that Saddle Creek appeals to a particular kind of buyer, sales have been steady. In 2012, five properties changed hands, ranging in price from $428,000 to $840,000.

Currently, five homes are on the market, from $549,500 to $675,000. In addition, there is one vacant lot for $139,000.


Last modified: March 10, 2013
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