With its city limits covering 885 square miles, Jacksonville claims the title of largest city by land area in the contiguous United States. The Jacksonville metropolitan statistical area (MSA) offers a diverse blend of living options. Those who prefer the beach life choose its seaside suburbs, including Jacksonville Beach and Atlantic Beach. Residents looking for quiet, country living can head west of downtown and live in a rural setting nestled among cherry, apple and pine trees. Like many U.S. cities, Jacksonville's downtown scene has grown and thrived in the 21st century, with many formerly blighted neighborhoods in the urban core undergoing revitalization and drawing professionals and young families.

Compared to its peer cities in Florida, including Miami and Orlando, Jacksonville experienced a less pronounced run-up in real estate prices during the early and mid-2000s, and was less affected by the ensuing crash. Since 2011, its housing market has seen growth and appreciation. Both prices and sales volume have steadily crept upward.

Market Insights

In May 2011, the median home sales price in Jacksonville stood at $107,000. It hovered around this level until the following summer, at which point it began a steady ascent, reaching $147,000 by the summer of 2013. From 2013 to 2016, prices have risen more slowly, with seasonal fluctuations increasing significantly. Prices rise during the summer months and recede during the winter. By the late summer of 2015, the median sales price reached $155,000. It fell back to $145,000 the following winter, where it still stood as of April 2016. If trends from recent years continue, prices should reach new highs during the summer and early fall of 2016.

Home sales volume in Jacksonville has also risen steadily since 2011. As with prices, monthly home sales have fluctuated heavily by season, particularly between 2013 and 2016. In May 2011, slightly fewer than 2,000 homes were sold in Jacksonville. In September 2015, the city had more than 3,300 home sales. That number, however, fell back to below 3,000 by the following winter.

Property and Transfer Taxes

Property tax rates in Duval County, which includes Jacksonville, vary slightly based on where in the county a home is located. The rate a homeowner pays is calculated in mills, with one mill equivalent to $1 per $1,000 in tax-assessed value. Property taxes in Jacksonville include school taxes, government operation taxes, urban services taxes, water management taxes and Florida inland navigation taxes. Homeowners can expect a total tax rate between 18 and 20 mills.

A unique benefit of owning a home in Florida is the homestead exemption, which reduces a home's tax-assessed value. For every Jacksonville tax except the school tax, the exemption is as much as $50,000. For the school tax, it is $25,000. Homeowners must occupy their homes to receive this exemption. Investment properties do not qualify.

A $200,000 home in Jacksonville with the homestead exemption has a tax-assessed value of $150,000. For school taxes, it is $175,000. The homeowner can expect a yearly property tax bill around $3,000. A conveyance of realty tax and a mortgage tax comprise the transfer taxes assessed in Florida. Combined, they equal $1.05 per $100 in value.

Most Expensive Neighborhoods

Jacksonville features several historic neighborhoods with high price tags, along with numerous upscale suburbs. The Avondale, Riverside and Ortega communities offer walkability, parks and green space, and close proximity to downtown. Smaller homes are available for $300,000 or under, though the area is also home to palatial estates that sell for over $1 million.

Ponte Vedra Beach is popular with residents who prefer suburban living and have money to spend. In 2014 and 2015, the median home sales price exceeded $400,000 during the summer months. Even renting in this suburb is prohibitively expensive for most people. The area's median rent was $2,300, as of April 2016.

Top Real Estate Websites

Online resources providing information about Jacksonville real estate are bountiful. Homes-Jacksonville.com, operated by a local real estate team, features an easy-to-use search option, home valuation tool and regularly updated blog posts on the state of the Jacksonville real estate market. MagnoliaProperties.com features listings for luxury riverside estates and information about property management services available in Jacksonville. Otherwise, home shoppers utilize the national real estate sites, such as Realtor.com, Trulia and Zillow, to procure information about properties available in Jacksonville.

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