Beaches. Kayaking. Live entertainment.
Or maybe the pitch will be something else: affordable homes to buy. A booming economy.
Either way, the selling points of living in Jacksonville are becoming more and more obvious to a lot of people – and not just the locals living there.
U.S. News & World Report, which recently released its list of the “100 Best Places to Live in the USA,” found a lot of reasons to enjoy living in Jacksonville, which is why Florida’s largest city made the Top 50 on the list.
“Restaurants, shops and entertainment options fill all of Greater Jacksonville’s neighborhoods,” the magazine noted.
And while several Florida cities made the list, demonstrating the continued appeal of life in the Sunshine State, Jacksonville in particular drew praise for having a high quality of life, diverse cultural and entertainment options, and a healthy job market.
Why did Jacksonville Gain a Place on this List?
In preparing their survey, U.S. News & World Report ranks the best places to live in America every year, based on five metrics. They include:
- Health of the job market;
- Quality of life;
- The city’s overall desirability;
- Affordability of the housing stock;
- Access to good-paying jobs;
- Cost of living;
- Quality of the local schools;
- and quality of the healthcare system.
After gathering and reviewing necessary data, the magazine ended up with a list that featured high rankings for Florida’s top cities, including Tampa (which ranked number 35), Orlando (40), Lakeland (64), Fort Myers (70), Daytona Beach (82) and Miami (92). Jacksonville came out in the middle, at number 45.
Jacksonville also ranked number 23 on the list of the best cities to retire in.
As the magazine noted, Florida’s largest city, with a population of 1,401,600 and an average annual salary of $43,460, is a city with a lot of strengths. That’s why living in Jacksonville is so appealing to so many.
Being close to the beach, the report noted, has made Jacksonville a popular spot for outdoor enthusiasts. Relaxing on the sand and watching the waves role in is just one of the popular activities available for those living in Jacksonville, though. There are also golf courses, and state parks that are ideal for hiking, camping, and kayaking.
The city also has a growing arts and music scene as well.
But people are not just moving here for the entertainment and recreational opportunities. This is also a city where a fast-growing job base, and a very affordable housing stock, is proving to be a winning combination, particularly for young families just starting out.
How did Jacksonville’s Economy Boost the city’s Rankings?
In 2017, the Jacksonville area added 18,000 new private-sector jobs, bringing the city’s unemployment rate to 3.4 percent in December, below both the state and national average. Then in January, the city got another boost when it was announced that the PGA TOUR had selected Ponte Vedra Beach for its new global headquarters, a move expected to create an additional 300 jobs in St. Johns County. The PGA TOUR currently employs 800 people, and the new 187,000 square-foot headquarters is expected to be completed by 2020. It’s a happy reminder that Florida is often known as the golf capital of the world.
The industries with the highest growth in Jacksonville included trade, transportation and utilities with 8,400 new jobs, and professional and business services with 4,200 new jobs.
The Jacksonville area rounded out the top five metro areas when it came to job demand, with 19,319 openings, and the city had the fourth-highest number of openings for high-skill, high-wage STEM jobs. That’s an impressive economic track record for Jacksonville, the largest metro area by land mass in the continental U.S.
What is the city’s cultural scene like?
Jacksonville is a growing city, undergoing an economic boom. As more and more people relocate here in search of jobs, a steady growth in arts and entertainment venues has followed them.
So what is Jacksonville living all about?
The city has already benefitted from being close to some spectacular beaches near the Atlantic shore in northeast Florida – a big lure for those who love the idea of living near the ocean. Bridges cross rivers and deliver residents in the downtown area to the nearby beaches. The city is also blessed to have nature trails to hike on, as well as opportunities for camping and hiking in recreation areas like Hanna Park and the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve.
As the city’s metro area has grown, it’s become clear that whatever lifestyle you want to lead, there’s something for everyone to enjoy here. If you enjoy live entertainment, the Ritz Theatre and the Florida Theatre are ideal. If you love the arts, check out the city’s Museum of Contemporary Art and the Cummer Museum.
If you’re a sports fan, there are legendary golf courses on Amelia Island, while Jacksonville also hosts the Armada professional soccer team, the Suns minor league baseball team, the Sharks arena football team and the Jaguars NFL team.
Strong business development and job growth, particularly in the downtown, has produced a lot of spin off activity for the residents looking for ways to spend their disposable income, including plenty of new restaurants.
What is the Quality of Life like in Jacksonville?
The average commute time in Jacksonville is about 25 minutes, which is below the national average. The metro area does have additional options for those who choose not to ride their car, including bus service and the Skyway train, plus ferries and water taxis. A Greyhound bus, Amtrak train or a flight from Jacksonville International Airport will get you out of the city to your next destination.
And if you’re wondering about the cost of living in Jacksonville, it’s lower here than in other large cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York City, with the cost of housing below the national average. According to the real estate website Zillow, the median home value in Jacksonville is $164,000, up 12.8 percent from a year ago, while the median price of a home is $193,000. That compares to the national home value of $207,600 and national median price of $257,900.
Then, of course, there’s that spectacular weather – beach weather, in fact, practically year-round.
Not surprisingly, Jacksonville attracts people of all ages and backgrounds. It remains a popular spot with retirees – but also with young families with children. U.S. News & World Report correctly recognized that this is a city on the move, with an exciting future.
If you’re just learning about the high ranking that Jacksonville earned from U.S. News & World Report, or if you’ve been thinking about relocating to this fine city, you can start your search by reaching out directly to AV Homes, which is 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.