That’s the opinion of Batey McGraw, president of Dream Finders Homes, a company with a growing presence in northeast Florida, as well as Orlando, Savannah/Hilton Head and several other markets across the United States. His comments come in a recent interview with the Jacksonville Business Journal, in which he describes the reasons his company is taking such a large stake in the area.
We always look for job growth. Job growth drives housing demand. Jacksonville has robust job growth as a percentage of population.”
Like most big corporations, I’m sure Dream Finders has a team of analysts crunching the numbers and doing the research to make sure they’re making smart business decisions. So hearing them tout solid job numbers in the area is encouraging.
Jacksonville is in the transition stage from a secondary-tertiary, to an emerging market as it becomes a bigger city. Once you get to 1.5 to 2 million people, you suddenly have significantly more scale where employers start to pay attention. Look no further than Deutsche Bank and its expansion to about 2,500 employees.”
Interestingly, McGraw also takes note of a couple of other important factors that make the area so attractive to home builders.
…Jacksonville has been largely passed by from the retirement buyer for more southern areas of Florida, and South Florida has become tremendously more expensive. We are getting to be attractive.”
[Retirees] care more about proximity to cultural activities and entertainment, dining. We see a lot of people following their adult children. If their adult children have chosen to live in Nocatee or another one of the communities in Northern St. Johns County, they want to be close to them, but having 15 to 20 minutes of distance can be a good thing.”
Schools and Services
When you drill down to the submarket level, what’s driving [growth] then? It’s schools. Fortunately for St. Johns County, it’s the shining startin Northeast Florida. Secondly, it’s access to jobs. Access to I-95, 9A and 9B are important. Then it’s proximity to services.”
GreenPointe Holdings, another real estate developer, clearly has the same sort of positive outlook on the area. Already the developer of Trailmark, the company is also breaking ground on Eventide, a small community of just 23 home sites in exclusive Ponte Vedra Beach, just west of Ponte Vedra Blvd. Beachwalk, the centerpiece of the Twin Creeks development is well underway. And a number of smaller communities have also been announced that will add to the areas population.
It’s an exciting time to live and work in northeast Florida. Yes, change and growth is coming. In fact, it’s already here. But along with it will come job growth/expansion, new services/businesses and opportunities to share all the things we love about the First Coast with new friends and neighbors.