A buyer-friendly housing market in sunny Florida might seem like an impossible dream, but it’s exactly what investors are finding in Jacksonville. In fact, HousingWire recently named Jacksonville as one of the top ten cities in the U.S. where homebuyers are likely to find a discount.
Jacksonville (nicknamed “Jax”) is located in Northeastern Florida, only 25 miles from the Georgia state line and about 360 miles north of Miami. Jacksonville is the largest city by area in the 48-states and the fourth-largest metropolitan area in Florida. The city lies along the banks of the St. Johns River in the First Coast region of Florida, while Jacksonville’s beach communities along the Atlantic Ocean are just a few minutes away.
The city’s convenient location, business-friendly government, wonderful year-round climate, affordable cost of living, and excellent quality of life help Jacksonville to lay claim as one of the country’s most dynamic and progressive cities.
Here’s why you should consider investing in Jacksonville in 2020 and beyond.
Jacksonville is among the nation’s fastest growing cities, according to a recent report from station WJCT in Jacksonville. Among all the markets in the southern U.S., Jacksonville came in second place just behind Austin, Texas. Overall, Jacksonville ranks seventh among the nation’s cities with the largest population gains, eight places ahead of Miami.
Key Population Stats:
- With more than 800,000 residents, the City of Jacksonville is the 14th largest city in the U.S. and home to more than one million residents in the metropolitan Jacksonville area.
- Jacksonville’s metropolitan area consists of five counties: Baker, Clay, Nassau, St. Johns, and Duval (where Jacksonville is the county seat).
- Between 2017 and 2018 the population in Jacksonville expanded by more than 12,000 new residents.
- Jacksonville’s population has increased by nearly 10% over the last ten years, according to The Florida Times-Union Jacksonville.com.
- The Bureau of Economic and Business Research (BEBR) at the University of Florida predicts that over the next ten years more than 800,000 new residents will move to the area.
- BEBR also forecasts that over the next 25 years the population of metropolitan Jacksonville will more than double to more than two million people.
Forbes ranks Jacksonville, Florida as the 22nd best place for business and careers and the 26th best place for job growth in the entire U.S. The city’s business-friendly and pro-development policies strengthen the economy and create opportunities for both workforce and small business creation.
Key Employment Stats:
- GDP of Jacksonville is nearly $77 billion, growing by nearly 38% over the last ten years.
- Job growth last year in Jacksonville was 2.8% while over the last 12 months employment in the Jacksonville area increased by 1.7%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Unemployment in Jacksonville has consistently trended downward this year and is currently 2.8%.
- Jacksonville is consistently rated as one of the “Hottest Cities in America” for business expansion and relocation due to its stature in the national and international marketplaces.
- In fact, the Federal Reserve reports that over the last 12 months alone the Economic Conditions Index for Jacksonville increased by more than 260%.
- U.S. News & World Report notes that while average salaries in Jacksonville are a bit lower than the national average, it also costs less to live in Jacksonville.
- Jacksonville has one of the largest advanced manufacturing regions in Florida, is the logistics center of America, is known as a global banking and finance powerhouse, and is home to one of three Mayo Clinics.
- Fortune 500 companies in Jacksonville are CSX Corporation, Fidelity National Finance, Fidelity National Information Services, and Southeastern Grocers.
- Major employers with headquarters in Jacksonville include Bank of America Merrill Lynch, JPMorgan Chase, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, GATE Petroleum, Miller Electric Company, McKesson, and PGA Tour, Inc.
- The IT & Innovation industry in Jacksonville encompasses sectors such as software development, healthcare, logistics, e-commerce, and finance technology.
- Jacksonville has a strong pipeline of skilled tech workforce with more than 13,000 IT graduates each year.
- Major colleges and universities in the Jacksonville metro area include University of Florida, University of North Florida, Jacksonville University, and Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science at its Jacksonville campus.
- 27.5% of the residents in Jacksonville 25 years or older have a bachelor’s degree or an advanced degree, while 89% are high school graduates or higher, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
- Interstate Highways I-10, I-75, and I-95 run through the Jacksonville metro area.
- Jacksonville has four seaport facilities, including JAXPORT, providing service to dozens of ocean carriers, hundreds of trucking firms, and freight rail service transporting millions of tons of cargo annually to more than 140 ports in 70 countries.
- Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) is expanding to a third concourse to better serve the nearly six million passengers who pass through the airport each year on airlines like Allegiant, American, Delta, JetBlue, and United.
Real Estate Market
PwC and the Urban Land Institute recently released their annual “Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2020” research paper. Jacksonville is ranked as the 12th-best market for future homebuilding prospects and among the top 25 metro areas for overall real estate prospects.
Key Market Stats:
- Median home value in Jacksonville is $180,600 according to Zillow (as of Oct. 2019).
- Home values in Jacksonville have increased by 6.1% over the last 12 months and are forecast to grow by another 5.3% in the next year.
- Median listing price of a house in Jacksonville is $215,000 and the median selling price is $169,500.
- Average days on market is 69.
- Nearly 20% of the homes listed for sale have a price reduction during the time they’re on the market.
- 11.2% of the homes in Jacksonville have a negative equity vs. 8.2% U.S. average.
- 1.9% of the homes in Jacksonville have a delinquent mortgage vs. 1.1% nationally.
Attractive Renters’ Market
The $45,000 difference between median asking and selling prices are a good sign home sellers in Jacksonville are becoming more motivated. Combined with Jacksonville’s reputation as one of the best performing metro areas for homebuyers, the market just might offer one of the better options in the U.S. for rental property investment.
Key Market Stats:
- Median rent in Jacksonville is $1,350 per month vs. $1,509 in the Jacksonville metro area.
- Average rents in Jacksonville have increased by 4% over the past year, according to RENTCafé.
- Only 37% of the housing units in Jacksonville are renter-occupied.
- 49% of the rental housing units in Jacksonville rent for between $1,001 and $1,500 per month, while 42% rent for $1,000 per month or less.
- Areas of Jacksonville where the rents are lowest include the 29th & Chase neighborhood, College Gardens, and Edgewood Manor where rents average $667 per month.
- Neighborhoods with the highest rents in Jacksonville are Del Rio, Greenland, and Mixon Town where rents range from $1,381 to $1,491 per month.
Historic Price Changes & Housing Affordability
Real estate investors considering buying rental property in Jacksonville look at the historical change in home prices and the housing affordability index to help gauge the current and future demand for housing.
The latest FHA 2019 Q2 House Price Index shows that:
- Home prices in the Jacksonville metro area have increased by nearly 225% since Q1 1991. Over the past five years, home prices have increased by more than 49% and have grown by 2.91% from the last quarter.
Kiplinger recently analyzed the affordability of housing in Jacksonville and other top 100 U.S. markets:
- Since the last real estate cycle market peak in May 2006, home prices in Jacksonville have decreased by 9.3%.
- Since the last real estate cycle market bottom in March 2012, home prices in Jacksonville have increased by more than 74%.
- Jacksonville has an affordability index of 3 out of 10, meaning the metro area is one of the more affordable places to own a home in the U.S.
Quality of Life
Nearly two-thirds of the people living in Jacksonville rate the area as an “excellent” or “very good” place to live, according to in-depth research from Niche.com. With the nearby beach and warm tropical climate, extensive park system, creative coastal cuisine, and craft beer scene, it’s easy to feel like you’re always on vacation.
Key Quality of Life Stats:
- Jacksonville is only 45 minutes from Orlando, 60 minutes from Atlanta, 2 hours 15 minutes from NYC, and 9 hours from London by airplane.
- Jacksonville has the largest urban park system in the U.S., with more than 450 city parks spanning more than 80,000 acres.
- More than 22 miles of white sand beaches are waiting just minutes from downtown Jacksonville.
- Jacksonville is home to Florida’s youngest population that’s drawn to the city's historic neighborhoods, colorful street arts scene, and vibrant nightlife.
- The NFL Jacksonville Jaguars play at TIAA Bank Field, while the PGA Tour based in Ponte Vedra make golf a popular outdoor activity in Jacksonville.
Get Out the Map
Where to begin your search? Roofstock created a heat map of Jacksonville based on our Neighborhood Rating, a dynamic algorithm that enables you to make informed investment decisions by measuring school district quality, home values, employment rates, income levels and other vital investment criteria.
DARK GREEN: 4-5 star neighborhood
LIGHT GREEN: 3.5-4 star neighborhood
YELLOW: 2.5-3 star neighborhood
ORANGE: 2 star neighborhood
RED: 1 star neighborhood
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