YULEE, Fla. – As Nassau County grows, home values are going up.
House prices in the county have risen for the past four years. Residents who live there and others who are flocking to new developments told News4Jax they love the area. It offers the benefits of living close to Jacksonville without having to live in Duval County.
It’s a trend realtors are seeing in counties surrounding Jacksonville, and after decades of St. Johns County's rapid growth, Nassau County is becoming an attractive alternative.
The Wildlight community just off the State Road 200/A1A exit of Interstate 95 is one of several large communities going up to house new residents.
One of the things that attracted people were Nassau County's lifestyle and great schools.
"We were living near Orlando and we wanted a little quieter place and more nature and better schools," Mandy King said.
"Typically, it’s pretty laid-back here," said Daryl Williams, who moved to Nassau County from Jacksonville. "The schools are good for public school systems. We were happy with that."
Another new resident chose Nassau County over St. Johns County because it was a little less expensive.
Longtime residents also value the more suburban way of life.
"You don’t have to deal with all of the crime and the traffic. I do not like congestion," said Marie Jacobs, who has lived in Yulee since 1984.
Nassau County Property Appraiser Michael Hickox said home growth has been concentrated around Yulee, with easy access to Jacksonville.
Hickox said 70 percent of the population travels out of the county to work. He also thinks the schools are one of his county's big attractions.
"We have one of the top school systems in the state and it’s also convenient to Jacksonville,"
Howard Flaschen, who is a real estate broker in St. Johns County, is seeing the same type of growth in Nassau County because St. Johns County has become pricey.
"Nassau County has always been kind of a second alternative," Flaschen said. "I think the average price point that was sold last year was over $400,000 in St. Johns County. "Some people, they will do the drive from a bit where they work downtown, where they need access to the airport. Nassau County does become an option."
Nassau County isn’t alone in attracting people who work in Jacksonville but want to live out of Duval County. Baker County is also growing.
Flaschen said home values in Baker and Nassau counties are both up 15 percent, compared to 7 percent in Jacksonville.