While many of us like to say we don’t enjoy being at airports, Jacksonville International Airport has received a pretty unique honor in the past few years.
The London Observer newspaper has called JIA one of the four best airports in the world to be stranded at, along with London’s Heathrow Airport, Seoul Airport in South Korea and Amsterdam’s Airport Schiphol.
CNN host Erin Burnett has called JIA “America’s best airport” after she got stranded there.
What gave JIA such glowing endorsements? The arts, as it turns out.
Jacksonville International Airport has a permanent art collection of 16 pieces, along with two galleries and eight cases that exhibit art loaned to the airport. It’s turned out to be a popular addition there, giving passengers an opportunity to relax and explore the artwork.
As the city in North Florida has come to recognize, the arts are one of several factors contributing to a very healthy local economy. Jacksonville has an increasingly vibrant arts scene, with the Jacksonville Symphony, museums, and strong arts institutions all contributing to economic growth. The arts, in fact, were cited as one of the factors that led the Mayo Clinic to put a campus in Jacksonville.
These days, Jacksonville’s economy is experiencing major growth, riding the same wave that the state of Florida has been on. Not surprisingly, that job growth is continuing to have a major positive impact on the city’s housing market. The personal finance site WalletHub has ranked Jacksonville as one of the top 50 cities in the nation to find a job, and as the second highest city in Florida to look for work.
Jobs have been growing here at a rate of more than 3 percent, higher than the national average of under 2 percent.
And jobs attract newcomers, and they are naturally looking for a place to live once they land a new position. So that economic growth, of course, is boosting the housing market as well.
Where is Jacksonville’s Economy Showing This Strength?
Jacksonville’s economic health is real. In February, it was announced that the Jacksonville area had added 18,100 new private-sector jobs in the last year, the fourth-highest number of jobs created among all Florida metro areas.
The unemployment rate in Jacksonville was 3.5 percent in February, comfortably below the national average of 4.1 percent.
Jacksonville has the benefit of being located in one of the fastest-growing states in the nation. Florida businesses created more than 25,000 new jobs in February, and the state’s unemployment rate was 3.9 percent.
Jacksonville is also benefiting from a diverse economy, and not being dependent on one industry to create the bulk of the jobs. The industries with the highest growth over the year in Jacksonville included:
- Trade, transportation and utilities with 3,900 new jobs;
- Construction (3,800)
- and leisure and hospitality (3,000).
In addition, the Jacksonville area topped the state’s five metro areas when it came to job demand, with 20,044 job openings. And the city had the fourth-highest number of openings for high-skill, high-wage STEM occupations, an important and fast-growing sector of the economy.
Jacksonville’s pace of job growth was 2.7 percent, higher than the statewide growth rate of 1.9 percent.
Why is Jacksonville doing so well? One reason may be the welcome mat that the city has rolled out for small businesses.
How Does Jacksonville Treat Its Start-Ups?
The website Business.org, which provides advice, tips and resources to entrepreneurs, conducted a survey in the first quarter of 2018, and found that Jacksonville ranks as the best city in Florida for entrepreneurs seeking to start a company.
Business.org found that Jacksonville had successfully created an entrepreneurial culture, one that encouraged more and more professionals to relocate there. The city has been striving to create a business-friendly climate for both existing businesses, expanding ones and startups, while also offering economic incentives to help those businesses grow.
On innovation in particular has been One Spark, an annual business event focused on crowdfunding for entrepreneurs. It’s a five-day event that invites entrepreneurs and innovators to display their business models, regardless of the industry they’re in.
CNNMoney has already noted that Jacksonville is “hot for startups,” with a reputation as the kind of place where the dreams of entrepreneurs turn real.
As CNN Money noted, the city of Jacksonville offers much lower business costs than New York City or Silicon Valley. Florida taxes are lower than in California and New York (Florida has no income tax) and, as the city’s thriving arts scene demonstrates, young people are often drawn here for the quality of life that’s available.
Jacksonville also makes private venture capital funding easily available, and often matches entrepreneurs with affluent retirees who want to invest in new, innovative businesses. Other incentives being offered include training grants, revenue grants and real estate tax abatements.
And speaking of real estate, Jacksonville’s economy is boosting the housing market as well.
How is Jacksonville’s housing market doing?
The housing market in the Jacksonville area has definitely shown a good deal of strength. According to Zillow, the median home value in Jacksonville is $166,100, below the national average of $210,000, so homes here are still affordable compared to other major cities.
Jacksonville home values have risen by 13.5 percent over the past year, and Zillow is forecasting they will rise 4.5 percent in the next year.
More importantly, builders are constructing new homes here. New Home Starts were up 28.5 percent in the third quarter of 2017, according to a report by Metrostudy, which provides market information for the housing and other industries.
Their study showed that in the third quarter of 2017, 2,342 single-family units were started, up significantly from a year ago. Jacksonville’s housing market also experienced strong activity in the resale housing market despite fewer listings, with increases in average and median pricing.
Without a doubt, a healthy job market is helping to fuel that growth.
If you’ve heard about the strong job growth in Jacksonville, combined with a growing arts scene and a high quality of life, and you’ve been thinking about relocating there, start by contacting a respected home builder in the city like AV Homes. They’ve been constructing homes in desirable locations in Jacksonville.
The existing developments that AV Homes has built include The Grove at Bannon Lakes, featuring single-family homes in a master-planned community surrounded by majestic oak trees; Stone Creek, a gated community on a 44-acre wooded estate close to downtown; and Amelia’s Walk, a resort-style community with a clubhouse, pool and pool deck, tennis courts, playground, and soccer field.
Call AV Homes today at 1-800-AVHOMES to learn more about the houses we have available.