Laid back living at Oakwood Villas, Woodland Village
Oakwood Villas and Woodland Village, two condo neighborhoods in South Bradenton located across from each other, have a lot in common. Both are one-story condo enclaves that share a great location, strong neighborhood spirit, similar amenities, attractive surroundings, and — at least until recently — affordability.
First developed on the North Side in the early 1970s, Oakwood Villas has 89 condos in both self-contained and attached units, ranging in size from just under 1,000 to 1,300 square feet of living space. All residences have two bedrooms and one or two bathrooms, as well as attached carports.
A winding interior thoroughfare, Live Oak Circle, winds from the main entrance on West 26th Street to a secondary access point on West 51st Avenue. There are also two small side streets. The community clubhouse, pool, and shuffleboard courts overlook a large pond that marks the western extent of the neighborhood.
Across the street to the south, Woodland Village has about 60 condos in semi-detached villas and a stand-alone single-family home. Clustered around four cul-de-sacs off West 51st Avenue, some dwellings have garages while others have attached carports. Mature trees provide lush tropical vegetation throughout. The community clubhouse and swimming pool are on the south side of the neighborhood.
“People love the trees, the landscaping and the convenient location – close to downtown Bradenton,” said Cheryl Roberts, realtor at Michael Saunders & Company, which has a sale underway there. “He has a lot of charm.”
“Our side has mostly palm trees, they have oak trees – more shade, slightly larger floor plans and larger carports,” said Joseph McDonald, realtor at Michael Saunders & Company. He recently purchased a condo unit at Oakwood Villas.
“I was renting in Sarasota and saw this place hit the market,” he recalls. “On a whim, I took a look and made an offer. The price was good – $135,000. Although he needed a little love, I knew there was value in that.
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McDonald bought the condo in March of this year and remodeled it over the next 45 days, redoing the kitchen and bathroom. His partner, Jeffrey Cochran, also an agent at Michael Saunders, who owned a house in Palmetto, also purchased and remodeled a unit.
“It was amazing to find something so affordable in Bradenton,” McDonald said. “Since we bought here, there have been seven more units sold, each one at a higher price. The last, unrenovated, went for $205,000. We have already almost doubled our investment.
He continued, “I have friends across the coast and in Chicago who want to come in here. I keep a list!
While neither Oakwood Villas nor Woodland Village have age restrictions, the population tends to be older, a mix of retirees and those still working. “About half of Oakwood Villas has snowbirds, including Canadians and residents who travel during the summer months.” McDonald explained.
At the same time, both neighborhoods change as long-time residents leave or pass away. “I realized Oakwood Villas was a community in transition when I arrived,” McDonald said. “The youngest settle down”
Both neighborhoods have a strong sense of community. “The people of Woodland Village are super nice. They walk their dogs, say hello and watch out for each other when they’re on vacation,” Roberts said.
McDonald’s agreed. “The neighbors were very friendly and talked to me, even on my first visit. All full-time residents know each other.
HOA fees for Woodland Village are $343 per month. At Oakwood Villas, which has private roads, the fee is about $50 higher and varies by square footage. Fees for both communities cover painting of condo exteriors, roof repair, landscaping, pest control, and amenities. The maintenance-free aspect makes it convenient for seasonal residents who can rely on the upkeep of their properties.
Currently there are no properties on the market in either community. When condos go on sale, they go fast. The last sale in Woodland Village before Roberts’ unit was over a year ago, in June 2021. His condo listing, under contract now, lasted a few weeks and had multiple offers.
“In Woodland Village, many homes are transferred within families,” Roberts said.
“I would never sell my unit, even after living here for five to seven years,” McDonald said. “Maybe rent it.”
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