Buying a home for the first time is typically a daunting task. However, being a first time home buyer in Jacksonville may be a little easier than in other areas. In fact, Realtor.com has rated Jacksonville in the top 10 markets for first time home buyers. They based their decision for the top markets on location, affordability, inventory, days on market, and unemployment rates.
It turns out that our area fits all these criteria. Florida continues to be a location where many people are choosing to live. It seems that a lot of people like the Jacksonville area because of its proximity to the rest of the southeast. Interstate 95 and Interstate 10 both pass through Jacksonville and are thoroughfares to other major market places in the southeast.
Realtor.com states that the average home price in Jacksonville is $198,000, but in my opinion, it’s much lower for the average first time home buyer purchase. My experience is that the average first time buyer typically purchase a Jacksonville home for $125,000–$150,000. And there are usually quite a few homes to choose from in that price range. Last spring, there was a shortage of homes in that price range because a lot of investors were purchasing them. However, in recent months, that trend seems to be slowing down and thus allowing more homes to be on the market.
As many people are aware, Florida had a higher-than-normal share of foreclosures from the housing boom and subsequent crash. Those homes are still coming to light in the marketplace, giving first time home buyers a great opportunity to purchase them. Especially with Fannie Mae‘s and Freddie Mac‘s First Look programs, which allow owner occupants to make offers on these homes in the first two weeks of time on the market.
The days on market tends to be a longer time period than in many other markets. I think that this has a lot to do with the fact that most people, especially first time buyers, are taking their time to evaluate before they commit to a purchase.
Lastly, the overall unemployment rate in Jacksonville is lower than the national average, which is always good for a boost in consumer confidence. We’re lucky to have two large naval bases and a huge medical industry in the area, which help create a positive job market for Jacksonville.
In fact, I see the success of first time buyers on a weekly basis in Jacksonville. Buying a home here is often more affordable than renting. Average rent in Jacksonville is $845 for a two-bedroom apartment. At today’s average interest rate of 4.5%, you can purchase a $165,000 home and have a mortgage payment of only $835. In most of the areas around Jacksonville, you’ll be able to get a four-bedroom, upgraded home for around $165,000.
With so many great communities in and around Jacksonville, you can get a terrific home for a great price. I love helping first time home buyers find a place to call home. In fact, it’s one of the main reasons that I love my job. There’s nothing like the joy and pride that a first time home buyer experiences when they find their dream home. Maybe you should see how affordable it is to live in Jacksonville.
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