Summary. “First Coast” is made up of multiple towns and communities within as many as 7 counties anchored by the city of Jacksonville. Jacksonville is centered on the banks of the St. Johns River, about 25 miles south of the Georgia state line and about 340 miles north of Miami. The Jacksonville Beaches communities are along the adjacent Atlantic coast. Harbor improvements have made Jacksonville a major military and civilian deep-water port. Its riverine location facilitates two U.S. Navy bases and the Port of Jacksonville, Florida’s third largest seaport. Significant factors in the local economy include services such as banking, insurance, healthcare and logistics. As with much of Florida, tourism is also important to the Jacksonville area, particularly tourism related to golf. The First Coast area has a population of nearly 1,500,000 and is one of the state’s largest urban areas by both population and area.
Whether you call Atlantic Beach, Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Orange Park, Ponte Vedra, St. Johns or any of the other towns in the region home, we know that when we come out to inspect we will find a a variety of housing that ranges from private waterfront homes, to golf course communities, to planned subdivisions. We understand that First Coast offers a wide choice of housing alternatives. Each of the towns and villages within the area have varying access to the local amenities and accessibility to both the beaches and to downtown Jacksonville. As much as people outside First Coast like to lump the location together, each of the towns are unique and care must be taken to evaluate the differences in each area.
Education. School districts and the proximity to the commuter transit system and highways are often determining factors when new residents begin their search for a home in the area. As such, these factors can have a direct impact on your valuation. Lot size and subdivision amenities are also important to buyers in these markets. Wherever your home resides, it is important that your appraiser be familiar with the impact that all of these factors can have on your home’s value.
Commerce. Jacksonville’s location on the St. Johns River and the Atlantic Ocean proved providential in the growth of the city and its industry. Jacksonville has the largest deepwater port in the South (as well as the second-largest port on the U.S. East coast) and a leading port in the U.S. for automobile imports, as well as the leading transportation and distribution hub in the state. However, the strength of the city’s economy lies in its broad diversification. The area’s economy is balanced among distribution, financial services, biomedical technology, consumer goods, information services, manufacturing, insurance and other industries.
Commerce. Jacksonville is home to many prominent corporations and organizations, including the headquarters of four Fortune 500 companies: CSX Corporation, Fidelity National Financial, Fidelity National Information Services and Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. In addition to CSX, the Florida East Coast Railway as well as Swisher International Group and the large short line railroad holding company RailAmerica are also based in Jacksonville. Last year, Jacksonville had approximately 2.8 million visitors who stayed overnight, spending nearly $1 billion. The total economic impact was $1.6 billion and supported nearly 43,000 jobs, 10% of the local workforce. All of these economic factors contribute to a unique and ever-changing housing market that requires a distinct local perspective.
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