Jacksonville, Florida, is emerging as a rising travel destination. But what about a destination to live in? The locals have always known that Jacksonville, or Jax as we like to call it, is one of Florida’s little gems. Now others are slowly discovering that Jacksonville is a pretty cool place to live.
Here are 6 things about Jacksonville, Florida that many people overlook, making it one of Florida’s most underrated cities.
1. Plenty of Outdoor Activities
Jacksonville boasts the largest land area of any city in the United States spreading across more than 840 miles. The St. Johns River runs through the city, giving it the nickname “River City”. You can walk or bike along The Riverwalk, a path that runs alongside the river for about 1.2 miles in the downtown area. Jacksonville, Florida’s beautiful beaches rival any of those in more popular cities like Miami or Orlando, except we don’t have to share it with as many tourists! Jacksonville also has the largest urban park system in the country — 80,000 acres in total. There are nearly 400 city parks, seven state parks, two national parks, and several gardens and arboretums. With so much land space filled with woodlands, parks, waterways, and marshes there’s no shortage of outdoor activities in Jacksonville, Fl.
2. Pleasant Weather
Hate the stuffy humid weather in South Florida? Well, the further north you are in the state, the less humid the weather is. That’s thanks to the cool Atlantic Ocean air that brushes the shores of Jacksonville. So while Jax is warm and balmy, it’s more bearable than down south. While South Florida’s climate alternates between hot and sweaty hot, up here in Northeast Florida the weather varies more throughout the year. Summer temperatures average around 90 and we enjoy a mild winter too. Some prefer to call it the “cool season” as the temperature rarely drops below 45 degrees.
3. A Thriving Property Market
If you’re looking to buy a home or invest in property, you’ve come to the right place. Jacksonville’s property market is thriving and shows no sign of slowing down, even in the midst of a pandemic. The Northeast Florida Association of Realtors reports that home sales continue to grow, despite the Covid-19 pandemic. Housing prices are affordable, making Jacksonville a great place to put down roots. According to Zillow, the median listing price of homes is $217,000 but the final sale price is around $194,000, much lower than the national average. For property investors, the rental market is also booming. Florida’s image as a retirement village may ring true in some other cities, but in Jacksonville, the median age of residents is 36. Many of these millennials prefer to rent. Zillow pegs the average rental price at $1,345 in Jacksonville and $1,450 in the metro area. Airbnb rentals are even more lucrative, averaging $2,162 with a return on investment of 4.2%.
4. Lower Cost of Living
One of the reasons Jacksonville is becoming so attractive is the lower cost of living compared to other Florida cities. According to Mashvisor, living in Jacksonville is 26% cheaper than both Miami and Fort Lauderdale and 14% cheaper than Sarasota. Affordable housing is one of the biggest factors driving down the cost of living. In addition, homeowner’s insurance is also reasonable. Insurance on a $200,000 home averages around $1,045 per year, or $87 per month. Another benefit is that healthcare costs are slightly lower than the national average. Florida’s pricing transparency law also requires hospitals to list service prices online. This allows the public to check and compare prices before undergoing surgeries and procedures.
5. A Growing Business Hub
Many people don’t realize that Jacksonville is a mini business powerhouse. It’s the only Florida city that is home to four Fortune 500 companies. Thirteen Forbes Global 500 companies also have offices here and it’s one of the leading financial and insurance centers in the country. If you’re an entrepreneur, relocating to Jacksonville for business reasons makes sense. The city has an open and free business environment that’s ideal for startups, small businesses, and venture capitalists. Plus, we have a top-rated airport if you’re a frequent business traveler. In 2017, Jacksonville International Airport was listed as one of the best airports in North America for customer service by the Airports Council International.
6. Cultural Diversity
Not only do we have a young population, but we are also culturally diverse. Jacksonville was influenced by the Timucuan Native American tribe, European settlers from Spain, France, and Britain, and African cultures. Each brought their customs and left their mark. Today those influences are still found in the food, arts, music, and heritage of Jacksonville.
So there you have it. If you needed a reason to move to Jax, we’ve just given you six. For now, the city maintains a fairly low profile but the secret is out and Jacksonville is growing rapidly. Get in while property prices are still low!