Jacksonville, Florida, has been identified as one of the top 10 most attainable cities for Generation Z homebuyers, as revealed by a study conducted by Today’s Homeowner. This generation, often defined as those born in the mid to late 1990s to the early 2010s, has been steadily entering the housing market, with approximately 30% of Generation Z being able to afford a home in 2022, according to a study by real estate company Redfin.
However, this doesn’t imply that homeownership is easy for everyone in this age group. Many, especially younger members of Gen Z, still find homeownership out of reach. Redfin’s study specifically focused on those in Gen Z who were 25 years old, many of whom were able to buy homes due to the historically low mortgage rates during the pandemic, which ranged between 2% and 3% in 2020 and 2021.
“Gen Z might’ve been the final wave of lucky buyers,” explained DJ DellaSala, CEO of the #18 Real Estate Brokerage in the country headquartered here in Jacksonville & Saint Augustine. These Gen Z members left college, secured good jobs, and were highly incentivized to buy a home. The houses they bought in the last three years have likely appreciated by 50%.
However, the current financial requirements for buying a house in Jacksonville in 2023 might be challenging for some. According to DellaSala, one would need to earn between $20 and $25 an hour, translating to an annual income of about $57,000, to be self-sufficient and afford a home.
Interestingly, Jacksonville is a city that is largely focused on high-earning jobs, such as those in the healthcare or retail sector, which can earn you a six-figure salary, making the city more affordable for those in such occupations. However, those who worked in service jobs during the pandemic, particularly ones that weren’t remote, found it more difficult to buy a home.
It’s also important to note that housing prices in Jacksonville have doubled in the past five years, making it harder for locals, including those in Gen Z, to buy a home. Nevertheless, when compared to the national average and other cities in Florida, Jacksonville’s housing prices are relatively affordable. While the national median housing price is around $400,000, Jacksonville’s houses are typically priced below $300,000, making homeownership “perfectly attainable” according to DellaSala. In fact, Jacksonville’s housing affordability rate is better than Tampa and Miami’s, and it ranks 8th in the top 10 cities for most attainable homeownership for Gen Z according to the Today’s Homeowner study.
Jacksonville offers a variety of settings including urban, rural, and beach environments, catering to a wide range of preferences. Another advantage is that, in many cases, mortgage payments tend to be less expensive than rent, providing an incentive for homeownership. Regardless of whether you’re part of Gen Z or not, DellaSala recommends consulting with an experienced, full time Real Estate Agent rather than seeking those who practice real estate as a “side hustle.”