Market Snapshot: Marbella on Palmer Ranch


PHOTO GALLERY: Marbella on Palmer Ranch

Named after a city on the Costa del Sol in Spain, Marbella is an attractive, gated community in Palmer Ranch. In line with the name, the developer, U.S. Home, created most of the houses in contemporary Mediterranean style with corbeled roofs and generous, open floor plans.

A streetscape in Marbella, Palmer Ranch. (Staff photo/Harold Bubil)

A streetscape in Marbella, Palmer Ranch. (Staff photo/Harold Bubil)

Developed in 1989 and built out by 1993, Marbella is located just off Palmer Ranch Parkway between Beneva Road and McIntosh Road. All 139 homes either back onto one of the three ponds, nature preserves or a wooded easement shared with Gulf Gate East, neighborhood immediately to the west.

There are essentially two parts to the neighborhood. One has single-family homes up to 3,300 square feet in size, with three and four bedrooms and angled two-car garages. There are also five two-story homes.

The other section features villas starting at 1,600 square feet. Villa sales are handled like single-family sales, however, and the owners take care of their own landscaping and exterior maintenance.

Ryndie Brusco, a Realtor with Michael Saunders & Co., has been selling homes in Marbella for the past three years. Her current listing is a two-bedroom residence at 4041 Via Mirada with a $284,900 asking price. "I love Palmer Ranch, and Marbella in particular," she says. "It has nice, wide sidewalks and trails for walking, and it's always quiet and peaceful when I go in."

She also likes the neighborhood for its wide-ranging appeal. "It offers a lot to a lot of people," she insists. "Some buy a home for six-month occupancy knowing they go up north and their property is safely locked behind the gates of a community in Palmer Ranch. Others are still working and want a family home."

As a result, Marbella has a diverse population. There are retirees, snowbirds, working professionals and young families with children. "You can see that there are a lot of working people, because at 5:30 they all get home and come out of their houses to walk their dogs," says Brusco with a smile.

Marbella was designed without the amenities of a community pool and clubhouse -- nearly all of the homes have their own swimming pools. It has kept HOA fees low, at $948 per year. "That's pretty reasonably priced for a gated neighborhood in Palmer Ranch," says Brusco.

In December 2004, Marbella's homeowners' association voted to become an "owner-occupied community," meaning, no rentals are allowed. Only people who have owned their homes since before 2005 have a one-time option to rent the property.

"We field a lot of calls about that," says Brusco. "When people visit one of the villas, they think, 'It looks like a villa; we can rent villas everywhere else; why not in Marbella?'"

She continues, "It's a rather unique concept for most of neighborhoods in Sarasota."

Another aspect that makes Marbella attractive to its residents is its central location. Despite its secluded atmosphere, it is close to fashionable shops, dining venues and the movie theaters at the Westfield Sarasota Square Mall. For those pursuing an active lifestyle, the Potter Park YMCA is in close driving distance, as are championship golf courses and the tennis courts of the Serendipity Racquet Club.

Siesta Key's beaches and Interstate 75 are readily accessible via Clark Road. An entrance to the Legacy Trail on McIntosh Road is within easy biking distance, less than a half-mile distant.

With such comforts and conveniences, it is no wonder that inventory is low, according to Brusco -- 2.8 months for Palmer Ranch as a whole and only one month for Marbella, way below the six months that are considered a balanced market.

Over the past 12 months, there have been 14 sales -- 13 single-family homes, ranging in price from $227,500 to $349,500, and one villa at $339,000.

Currently, only three homes are on the market and one "active with contract," priced from $234,900 to $459,000.

Last modified: September 20, 2014
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