JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville has become a hot housing market, particularly with apartments.
You may have noticed they appear to be popping up all over the city, including new construction in some older neighborhoods.
One of about 15 new complexes being built right now in the city is on Hendricks Avenue in San Marco. About 15 other complexes have recently opened, and there are many more in the works.
The demand for apartments is still growing. Many of those looking for apartments are coming from out of town.
Juliana Wright recently moved to Jacksonville from Seattle and landed a position with the Florida Ballet but found it difficult to land a place to live.
“It was hard finding a place. Lots of the one-bedroom, studio apartments were all taken. They went pretty fast, or they’re just too expensive,” Wright said.
She is now at home in the San Marco Promenade apartment community near Philips Highway. It’s just one of many that have opened recently in Jacksonville, like the Exchange next door. Other luxury apartments are in the works. Construction is underway for the Doro, located near TIAA Bank Field.
A market report shows that 43 apartment communities are in development in the Jacksonville area. It looks like they are not having problems attracting tenants. Right now, according to the report published by NAI Hallmark Jacksonville, which is a commercial real estate firm, the vacancy rate for the city is 3.7%. It was 5.2% a year ago.
The average rent is $1,231, and that’s more than an 11% increase from last year. Many say the coronavirus pandemic is a reason for some of the growth — with more people working remotely, they no longer have to be in cities that have high rents.
This growth in apartment construction is also causing some criticism. Norman Joseph lives near St. Augustine Road and Old Kings Road — where there are plans to build a 380-unit apartment complex. He understands the need for new housing but believes building apartments in a neighborhood that’s already established with single-family homes is a mistake. He is worried about additional traffic and the size of the complex being proposed.
“From my back porch to the other homes in the neighborhood, instead of seeing greenery and trees, we’re going to see a four-story high-rise,” Joseph said.
He plans to fight back by attending a town hall meeting on Monday to voice his concern. That meeting is at 5 p.m. at Alfred I. duPont Middle School.