Each of the other nine metropolitan statistical areas sited in the Penske study's Top 10 are centered around major cities, such as Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Seattle and Charlotte, N.C.
Penske, a global transportation services provider, said the list is compiled by analyzing online consumer truck rental reservations and inquiries to Penske Truck Rental call centers. Only 2012 one-way moves were considered.
Atlanta, an urban center of about 425,000 with sprawling suburbs connected to it, has topped the list for each of the three years Penske has compiled it.
The Dallas-Fort Worth area made the jump from fourth to second place for 2012. Four other markets -- Chicago, Houston, Denver and Seattle -- each retained their rankings from 2011.
The Sarasota MSA includes Bradenton, Venice and North Port, which is the largest municipality in the area by both population and land area.
"This list fits the general geographic shifts of the country's population, with our customers being drawn to the Southeast and Southwest regions," said Don Mikes, Penske's senior vice president of rental operations.
Local real estate broker Candy Swick said she is not surprised by Sarasota's ranking ahead of other major areas nationwide.
"I would expect us to be in the top 10," she said. "I go to real estate conventions where the attendees are in the top 1 percent (of earners), and when I say 'Sarasota,' they all know where it is.
"Where can you go to find the feeling of a small town, without the feeling of a big city, 20 minutes from an island beach, opera, theater, polo. In an hour, you can see a football game, a hockey game, a baseball game. What is it that we don't have, other than snow?"
Swick said she participated in nearly 120 transactions in 2012, and she said "about 50 percent" of those involved clients who were moving into the area.
Give us a call at 941.822.0708 if we can help you buy or sell a home in the Sarasota area.