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As large cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston and New York have become extremely expensive, a growing trend in the real estate market today has been the migration of home buyers to medium-sized cities. A growing number of young people, families and Millennials are shunning the high cost of these metropolitan giants and instead relocating to smaller cities where there’s lots to do and they are considerably more affordable. That trend is happening in two desirable Florida cities, Orlando and Jacksonville, where the local economy is strong, plenty of jobs are being created. Housing prices are far lower than in Los Angeles or New York. That’s why AV Homes has invested in building homes in Jacksonville and in some of the beautiful towns in the Orlando area. We believe families deserve a chance at homeownership and a bright future there.

Big City blues

Big cities have attracted a lot of newcomers in recent years, drawn there for jobs, cultural amenities, and the excitement of life there. At the same time, the population spike in cities like San Francisco, Seattle, New York City and Boston have made them exceptionally expensive. Housing costs have soared beyond the reach of many people.

As a result, two key groups that make up the bulk of prospective buyers in the housing market – Millennials and Baby Boomers – have started turning away from the soaring prices in those cities. Instead, they’re turning to mid-size cities as a better alternative.

It’s not hard to figure out why. Cities like Orlando and Jacksonville offer plenty of cultural amenities. That includes a thriving downtown nightlife and close proximity to Florida’s world famous beaches and exciting theme parks.

At the same time, people moving there are not confronting many of the challenges that larger cities pose, from slow traffic congestion to higher crime rates, longer commute times – and drastically more expensive housing.

In mid-size cities, the overall pace of life can be a lot less hectic.


Mid-size economic boom

Mid-size cities have another benefit: the job markets are booming there.

A strong U.S. economy has helped fuel growth in traditional U.S. real estate. However, smaller cities are also doing well. Orlando’s unemployment rate is now 3.9 percent, and in Jacksonville it’s 4.1 percent – both lower than the national average of 4.4 percent.

Zillow noted that with strong economies, good amenities, and better housing prices, mid-size cities have become some of the most desirable places to live.

Among the “hot markets” in the nation, Zillow cited Orlando, which ranked as the 4th most desirable mid-size city to relocate to. (Zillow, “The Hottest Housing Markets for 2017.”)


Not too big, Not too small

Movoto Real Estate just released its most recent Big Deal List, and came up with several factors that help make mid-size cities appealing to newcomers. That includes:

  • A nightlife featuring bars and clubs
  • Live music venues
  • Parks and outdoor activities
  • Lots of restaurants
  • A higher percentage of young people in the 20-34 age range

Movoto concluded that “Mid-sized doesn’t mean mediocre excitement.”

Fortune magazine likewise reports that housing affordability is a major draw in mid-size cities, and that this trend is expected to continue in 2017.

Olivia Grove Monument

Buying from AV Homes

At AV Homes, we take pride in the homes we’ve built in two of Florida’s most appealing mid-size cities. Both Orlando and Jacksonville have become magnets for newcomers drawn to the nightlife, spectacular year-round weather, and terrific job markets available in both cities.

Orlando has even been ranked by Zillow as the #1 city in the country for first time home buyers, with more affordable options than larger cities, and relatively more housing inventory as well. (Zillow, “Southern Comfort: First-Time Home Buyers Will Find More Favorable Conditions in the South.”)

There’s a lot of excitement to be found in Florida’s up-and-coming mid-size cities, from the popular theme parks near Orlando to the world-famous beaches just a short drive from Jacksonville.

AV Homes knows the appeal of both cities, which is why we remain committed to building new homes there.