We agree with Nancy's assessment of Florida's west coast but it is indeed all about personal preference. If your purchase is going to be directly tied to a rental future it would be important to explore the rental history for each of your target areas. From a Sarasota to Venice perspective, the rental market is alive and doing very well. There is an established history of people that have been returning to the area as renters for 5, 10, 15, or more years and we feel that for the short run, it's likely the number of annual renters will increase; at least until the end of this current market correction.
In our location $400,000 will put you in a Gulf front condo with a bite of a water view. We just sold one that was completely rehabed with a beautiful waterview for $331,000 completely furnished. Two bed room, two bath, granite, etc. etc.
Depending on the condition and location of the unit, one could depend on between $2,500 to $4,000 as a seasonal rental. Between $1,000 and $2,000 for an off season rental rate.
Don't overlook the Sarasota/Venice area! It offeres it's residence a "quality of life" that people look fore and keeps them coming back . We would be happy to help you if needed.....
Best of luck,
The "Eckler Team"
Century 21Almar and Associates
Venice, Fl 34285