Are you moving to Jacksonville, Florida? You’ll appreciate real estate prices that are 29% below the national median, residents enjoy a cost of living 1% below the national average – and – the state has no personal income tax. Jacksonville, also dubbed Jax, is among the top five hottest housing markets in the nation, with a median home price of $176,519, and median rent $955. Money Magazine named Jacksonville ninth of US big cities for the best cost of living; job growth, particularly in tech; and things to do. Jax’s vibrant art, music, and award-winning culinary scenes attract tourists and new residents alike. When you’re ready to relocate, you’ll want the best, most trusted moving company to get you there. Simply click ‘Get Quote’ and Great Guys Moving will provide you with up to four free estimates from our professional, insured, and licensed movers. Speaking of moving, Jacksonville’s unique public transportation – The Skyway, water taxis, and river ferries – makes getting around town pretty exciting.
Living in Jacksonville, FL: What to Know Before Moving to Jacksonville
Jacksonville wins the prize for “large.” At 892,000 residents, Jacksonville is Florida’s largest city. Covering 840 square miles, Jacksonville is the largest city by geographic footprint in the continental US. And, at over 80,000 acres, Jacksonville has the most extensive urban park system in the nation. All that size adds up to plenty of space, nature, culture, history, arts, and sports, so you can find exactly the quality of life you’re looking for.
About 56% of the city’s residents own their homes. Although the median home value is $176,519, it can be as low as $117,000 in some of Jacksonville’s respectable neighborhoods, making Jacksonville housing quite affordable. Median rent is $955 per month. However, housing prices are projected to increase by 4.3% in the next year. Forbes ranks Jacksonville as the 7th best city for future job growth, and job growth means more people will be moving to Jacksonville, putting a demand on the housing market.
Economy & Job Market
The largest industries in Jacksonville are health care and social assistance; education; retail trade; finance and insurance; tourism; and the military. One out of nine people in Florida have a job in tourism, but Jacksonville was the only Florida city ranked in the ‘Top 10 Tourism Destinations on the Rise’ by TripAdvisor. As a hidden gem coming out of hiding, more tourists are discovering Jacksonville, the city’s economy reflects. The three highest paying industries are utilities; finance and insurance; and professional, scientific and technical services. Jackson’s vibrant music and art scene has also stimulated business development.
The three highest paid jobs by median earnings are legal occupations, $75,527; computer and mathematical occupations, $66,767; and computer, engineering, and science occupations, $62,198. The five top employers in Jacksonville are Naval Air Station Jacksonville which employs 25,240 people; Duval County Public Schools with 14,480 employees; Naval Station Mayport, home to the Navy’s 4th Fleet, has 9000 employees; the City of Jacksonville employees 8820 folks; and Baptist Health has 8270 employees. The average salary in Jacksonville is lower than the national average but is relative to the lower cost of living and affordability of the city.
Good news! There’s no personal income tax in Florida. However, Sunshine State residents pay a retail tax of 6% which hikes up to 7% in Jacksonville due to a county and city combined rate. You’ll also pay property taxes in Jacksonville which average $1660 per year. Corporate income is taxed one of two ways. There’s either a 5.5% state tax assessed on federal taxable income or a 3.3% alternative minimum tax (AMT) is assessed, based on federal AMT rules.
Traffic & Transportation
Jacksonville’s public transportation system isn’t only convenient and varied, but it’s fun! How many cities have their own Skyway people mover? The Jacksonville Transportation Authority operates the zero-fare Jacksonville Skyway which spans the north and south banks of the St. Johns River. Eight Skyway stations in various neighborhoods make commuting convenient and fun! And what is more enjoyable than getting around town on a water taxi or a river ferry? You can get to Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) in just 15 minutes from Downtown, and Amtrak provides daily rail service to and from Jacksonville. If your own two feet are your favorite way of getting around, you’ll enjoy strolling or jogging the scenic riverfront paths and many of Jacksonville’s historic neighborhoods that are just minutes from Downtown. Planning to drive in Jacksonville? Interstate highways and bridges tend to have heavy rush-hour traffic, but when roads are clear, it’s only about a half hour drive to get anywhere in the city.
Greatschools.org rates Jacksonville schools above average, but since it’s a big city, the quality of education varies from neighborhood to neighborhood. With the national average at $12,383, Jacksonville public schools spend $8,951 per student. If you or your children are considering post-secondary education, Jacksonville offers Florida State College at Jacksonville, Jacksonville University, and the University of North Florida.
Society & Politics
Jacksonville is home to three military installations and has the third largest military presence in the nation. In general, military families are politically conservative, and not surprisingly Duval County voted Republican in the previous five presidential elections. However, young progressively-minded residents are beginning to impact the political and social culture of Jacksonville.
Bestplaces.net rates Jacksonville’s violent crime at 33.9 while the nation’s average is 22.7. Realestate.usnews.com gives Jacksonville a crime index score of 5.8 of 10. Both unemployment and crime peaked during the 2008 economic crisis, and since then, violent crime has significantly decreased due to the city’s successful crime task force and lower unemployment rates. Crime levels vary considerably between neighborhoods, and just as there are some dangerous areas of the city, you’ll also find very safe areas.
You’ll primarily experience two seasons in Jacksonville: mild winters and long, hot summers. Winters have highs in the mid-60s and lows in the mid-40s. Summers are warm and humid with highs in the mid-90s and lows in the mid-70s. Keep your umbrella handy from June through September when Jacksonville gets the most rain – about 50 inches per year. From early June through September the ocean water is perfect for taking a dip at a toasty 80°. But also, be ready to batten down the hatches – the hurricane season in Florida runs from June through November. Although Jacksonville typically gets fewer hurricanes than other parts of Florida, all parts of the state are vulnerable, so make sure you stock an emergency storm box.
Things to Do
Get set to slather on the sunscreen. Just about every fresh and saltwater sport you can imagine is waiting for you in Jacksonville. Outdoor enthusiasts can explore their favorite pastimes in over 80,000 acres of Jacksonville’s national, county, and local parks, plus you can even set up camp at pristine sites within the city limits. And if you’re a sports fan, you can get behind Jacksonville’s Giants, Suns, or Jaguars. The only worry you’ll have when it comes to golf is deciding which of Jacksonville’s 21 golf courses to play. Creative, innovative young residents have impacted Jacksonville’s culture. The city has an edgy and evolving art scene, museums, live theatre, a symphony orchestra, galleries, festivals, street fairs, markets, and a rich history waiting for you to explore.
Best Neighborhoods in Jacksonville, FL
With over 500 distinctive and diverse neighborhoods, you’ll have no trouble finding a Jacksonville neighborhood that will appeal to your specific tastes. You can choose lifestyles from the laid-back coastal, oak-forested rural, historic suburb, urban downtown, and even a sustainably oriented smart neighborhood: eTown.
Niche.com rates Beach Haven #1 out of 190 as the ‘Best Neighborhood’ in Jacksonville for its above-average public schools, competitive housing costs, quality of life for families, nightlife, and diversity. Although Beach Haven isn’t right on the beach, you can be on the sand in ten minutes or to Downtown in 25. With lots of nature trails and proximity to the intercoastal waterway, you’ll have lots of opportunities for an active lifestyle. The median home value is $333,318, and the median household income is $104,931. Crime is 31% lower than the rest of Florida and 26% lower than the nation’s average. A+ schools, with 94% high school students graduating, and test scores 59% higher than the nation’s average, make Beach Haven schools an excellent choice for your children.
Located southeast of downtown, the median home value in this neighborhood is $270,128, the median rent is $1234, and the median household income is $81,864. Niche.com rates Deerwood #3 out of 190 as the ‘Best Neighborhood to Raise a Family’ and #4 ‘Best Neighborhoods’ in Jacksonville. Your children will receive a good education in Deerwood’s public schools have above-average ratings. Do you love to play golf? Established as a planned community in the 1960s, Deerwood is a gated golf community with a newly renovated country club complex. Membership to the country club is optional; about half of the residents are members. Deerwood consists mainly of single-family homes on lots that average over a one-half acre, but new housing demand has produced zero lot line homes, apartments, and condominiums.
Established in 1869, Springfield is a historic neighborhood, north of Downtown. When the Great Fire of 1901 destroyed most of Downtown, Springfield was saved, but it’s taken the area many years to make a comeback. Now it’s home to hip craft breweries, award-winning restaurants, coffee houses, and boutiques. The tree-lined historic district is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and has excellent examples of nineteenth and twentieth-century architecture. If the high crime rate doesn’t scare you, Springfield offers the opportunity to buy a historical home at a price well below the nation’s average. Springfield is a diverse neighborhood where the residents tend to be progressive. WalkScore.com rates Springfield the most bikeable community in Jacksonville’s urban core. The median home value is $107,625. The median rent is $634, and 58% of Springfield residents rent their homes. Possibly a better neighborhood for singles or retirees rather than families, school test scores are 26% lower than the national average.
Fifteen miles east of downtown Jacksonville, Neptune Beach is a peaceful, laid-back, mostly residential beachside neighborhood with a median home price of $380,224, a median household income of $78,490, and a median rent of $1,216. Residents are proud of their award-winning public high school, and Neptune Beach is a safe community with a crime index of 163 compared to the nation’s average of 280.5. Locals and tourists enjoy the Beaches Town Center, a pedestrian-friendly area of restaurants, boutiques, and lodging. You can kick up your heels at the spring “Dancin’ in the Street” festival where all funds go to beautification projects in the central business district. Third Street runs right through town and connects Neptune Beach to Atlantic Beach in the north and Jacksonville Beach in the south. Residents spend their free time surfing, swimming, beach combing, biking, jogging and bird watching.
If you’re looking for a more rural lifestyle, away from the high energy of the urban center, check out Orange Park on the west side of Jacksonville. The suburb was originally part of the McIntosh plantation, but developers have divided it into building lots and small farm tracts, so most homes sit on larger acreage. The median home price is $187,600. Niche.com gives Orange Park an ‘A’ for overall livability and a ‘B- for crime and safety and rates the public schools above average. Golf courses, water sports, parks, shopping, a spectacular Fourth of July celebration, and the Annual Fall Arts and Crafts Festival will keep you busy throughout the year.
Known as Jacksonville’s first suburb, historic LaVilla is located northwest of Downtown and is filled with bars, restaurants, cafes, and parks. LaVilla was named the #5 ‘Best Neighborhoods to Live in Jacksonville for Young Professionals’, and the #10 ‘Best Neighborhoods’ in Jacksonville, by niche.com. Eighty-six percent of residents rent their homes, and you can choose from lofts, condos, houses, or apartments. The median home value is $132,000, and the median rent is $680. The median household income is $38,950. Originally an independent city developed after the Civil War, and the first middle-class black neighborhood in Florida, LaVilla is considered a mecca for African American culture and heritage. The LaVilla School of the Arts is an above average rated public magnet school with over 1000 students in grades 6-8. The Jacksonville Transportation Authority’s Skyway operates a station in LaVilla, plus the neighborhood has an extensive bus system.
Riverside and Avondale
Population: 5,967 (Riverside); 4,049 (Avondale)
Developed between 1895 and 1930 on 19th-century plantation land, both neighborhoods are planned communities and for many years have been considered Jacksonville’s top neighborhoods. Although each is a separate neighborhood, they’re often considered one because of their similarities. If living in a historic home is appealing to you, you’ll have a good chance of finding one here. Riverside’s median home value is $186,689; Avondale’s median home value is $308,400. Riverside’s median household income is $53,078, and the median household income in Avondale is $76,474. In the 1920s, the neighborhoods became “laboratories for aspiring architects” so you’ll see Tudor, Queen Anne, Victorian, Shingle, Georgian, Colonial Revival, and Bungalow styles. Both Riverside and Avondale are on the National Register of Historic Places and border the St. Johns River. You’ll enjoy charming areas with restaurants, boutiques, and bars. Every Saturday, thousands show up for the Riverside Arts Market that features live musicians, local artists, and tasty food. Riverside is safer than 8% of Florida cities, and Avondale is rated safer than 48% of Florida cities.
If you’ll be working Downtown and want a short commute, the San Marco neighborhood makes a great choice. With a Skyway station that makes commuting a breeze, San Marco is a vibrant, energetic, historic neighborhood with one of Jacksonville’s trendiest dining districts. You’ll also find cool bars, boutiques, and parks. Attractive to young professionals, San Marco residents tend toward moderate political views. Developed in the 1920s, its San Marcos Square is one of Jacksonville’s genuine town centers and features statues, monuments, and unique public art. The median home value is $264,552, and the median rent is $1,001. 63% of residents rent their homes, and the median household income is $61,862. Stanton College Preparatory is a 9-12 public school that rates #6 ‘Best Public Highs Schools in Florida,’ and San Marco is safer than 7% of Florida cities, according to areavibes.com.
How to Move to Jacksonville
An interstate move involves a lot of careful planning and organization. This checklist will not only help you plan and prepare for your long distance move to Jacksonville, FL; it’ll help you stay organized for a less stressful move.
- Create your moving budget
- Hire a trusted mover
- One of the most important things you can do to get ready for your move is to hire a reputable, licensed, insured moving company.
- At Great Guys Moving, we are committed to providing you with quick, free moving estimates from the best professional long-distance movers. We’ve researched for you. All you need to do is click ‘Get Quote.’
- The moving professionals we partner with are vetted, licensed, insured, and reputable.
- Once you’ve reviewed your estimates, schedule two or three moving companies to come to your home or office. They’ll see what you’ll be moving and write up your official moving estimate.
- Be sure to have your questions clarified before you sign your moving contract. What exactly does their insurance cover or not cover? Will they move your piano as part of the estimate or is that a separate charge? Is there an additional charge for relocating during a holiday? You’ll have a lot of questions, and now’s the time to have them answered.
- Let each moving company know what kinds of services you’ll want. Do you want them to pack all your belongings, or just pack your kitchen? Do you want them to disassemble furniture such as large beds or media systems?
- Create a personal checklist for your specific move
- Use our checklist suggestions to customize your own checklist.
- Refer to it often throughout your move.
- Interstate moving companies charge by the weight of your belongings. The more you get rid of, the lower your moving cost will be.
- Garage sales, consignment and thrift stores, craigslist, and social media are great ways to find a new home for your old stuff.
- Golf clubs? For sure you’ll want them in Jacksonville! But heavy winter clothes, and your snow blower? Sell them or give them away.
- Start eating up all the food in your fridge, cupboards, and pantry.
- Document the condition of your belongings before they get packed
- Take photos of everything that’s of any value.
- Photos are the best way to prove the existence and condition of anything that you may eventually need to claim for insurance purposes.
- You’ve purged, right? OK, now it’s time to start packing.
- Gather supplies and start packing at least one month in advance of moving.
- Delegate! Line up family members and friends to help.
- One month before moving
- Change your address at usps.com.
- Arrange utility shut-offs and turn-ons.
- Change your address at online shipping websites like Netflix or Amazon.
- If you’re renting, give written notice to your landlord that you’re vacating.
- Also, notify any employees who work for you that you’re moving.
- Cancel gym memberships, water delivery, pharmacy, or grocery delivery services.
- Purchase your airline tickets if you’re flying to Jacksonville.
- Get your vehicles serviced and make hotel reservations if you’ll be driving to Jacksonville.
- Make banking arrangements and order new checks.
- Arrange for child and pet care on moving day.
- Notify your home, health, and auto insurance providers of your move.
- If you’ve already arranged storage-in-transit with your mover, great.
- If you’re making your storage arrangements, book the unit as far in advance as possible. Storage can be hard to find during certain times of the year.
- Make plans to clean your home or apartment and repair any damage.
- If you are alone on moving day, ask a friend or family member to come over and help you. They can save you a lot of stress and help:
- Direct the movers.
- Walk-through before the movers drive away to make sure nothing’s forgotten.
- Clean after the movers have left.
- Deal with meals and water.
- Deal with trash.
- Pick up the kids and pets.
- As packing progresses, make up a special box that you’ll keep with you during the move. This ‘essentials’ box will contain your passports, legal documents, moving contract, prescriptions, some healthy snacks, and hygiene items.
- Find out if you can park your moving van or rental truck in front of your new home. Check to see if Jacksonville requires a city permit.
- Arrange for transcripts to be mailed when you’ve identified your children’s new schools.
- Have medical and dental records sent to your new Jacksonville doctors and dentist.
- If you want to take advantage of Florida’s tax benefits, you’ll have to make sure that Florida is your state of legal domicile. To qualify, you’ll have to:
- Register to vote in Florida.
- Obtain a Florida driver’s license.
- And spend at least six months of the year in the state.
- Don’t forget to register your vehicle soon after moving.
- Check the long-term weather forecast before you move.
- If you move between June and November, be prepared for heavy rains and possibly hurricanes.
- If your moving date is flexible, consider moving to Jacksonville during the dry season. During this period, the hurricane risk is lower, tourism traffic is lighter, and your moving costs will be lower. Moving costs go up during the summer months when most people are moving.
- Storm prep
- If you are moving into a house, be sure it has hurricane shutters or enough plywood to board up your windows when storms are in the forecast.
- Become familiar with your neighborhood’s evacuation procedures and consider purchasing flood insurance.
- Prepare a well-stocked emergency box and keep it in an accessible place.
- Make a special time to say goodbye to family and friends.
- Make sure you have the cash to tip your movers when they complete your move.
- For more information on Jax, check out these websites:
- visitjacksonville.com covers information on history, business, arts, culture, sports, outdoor activities, restaurants, and breweries. Although the site is designed for tourism, it provides plenty of important information for folks who are considering moving to Jacksonville.
- jaxusa.org is a business-oriented website that focuses on business relocation or expansion.
- Other websites to explore are: coj.net and myjaxchamber.com
- Enjoy your new home in Jacksonville!