It’s Florida’s largest city and one of the fastest growing in the southeast region of the US. With a booming employment market and low inflation, Jacksonville currently shines as one of Florida’s economic beacons. In turn, this buoyancy is boosting the Jacksonville property market, expected to expand considerably over the next few years.
Nearly 20,000 new jobs have been created in Jacksonville over the last year and the city’s unemployment rate stands at a low 5.75 per cent, somewhat below the figure for the country as a whole. Add to this, a recent 6 per cent growth in retail sales and inflation at just 0.27 per cent (the US average is 1.2 per cent), local residents have more money to spend, which directly stimulates the local economy.
In the aftermath of the 2007-2011 recession, city authorities have made job creation one of their top priorities and efforts to attract companies to this part of Florida are paying off. The latest arrival is GE Oil & Gas, one of the nation’s largest energy companies, whose manufacturing plant in Jacksonville is due to open before the end of the year. Investment in the plant totalled US$50 million and 500 jobs will be created over three years.
The favourable business climate in Jacksonville also appeals to financial companies and many have relocated to the city during 2014. They include JP Morgan, one of the newest tenants at the Deerwood office complex where vacancy rates are at record lows. Three out of four of Jacksonville’s downtown towers have been purchased by outside investors this year, highlighting the expectations generated by the economic buoyancy in the city.
Analysts expect these excellent economic figures to have a strong effect on the Jacksonville property market. The influx of new residents to the city to take up new jobs and the boost in spending power has already led to a greater demand for homes. The PARC Group, one of the biggest Florida property developers, is reporting record sales on its community at Nocatee where they expect to sell 1,000 units this year. The Nocatee complex is already the third best-selling community property in the US.
However, many new arrivals are unable to enter the Jacksonville property market as homebuyers because of stringent mortgage lending conditions. This puts additional pressure on the already strained rental market where the vacancy rates currently stands at just 6.3 per cent. With new construction still at very low levels, demand for property in this area of Florida is expected to outstrip supply for the next few years.
Source: City of Jacksonville, Jacksonville Business Journal, Jacksonville Daily Record