Should You Rent or Buy in Jacksonville?

As a military town, we get a lot of military families relocating here from places like Coronado, San Diego, and all over the country. When moving to a new city, one of the first decisions you need to make is whether you want to rent or buy a house.

Location, Location, Location

Jacksonville is a large city with many different areas and neighborhoods. While our surrounding counties, like Nassau and St. Johns, are not technically part of Jacksonville, many people choose to live in them and commute into the city for work. 

This opens a lot of options for both buyers and renters, as you are not locked into living in an area near your base. For example, families may choose to live in Nassau County for the small town feel or St. Johns County for the schools. Plus, you can always choose to rent in an area to try it out before committing to buy in that neighborhood.

What’s more affordable in the long run?

We are in a seller’s market, so buyers need to understand that, in general, homes are selling for list price or higher. However, in general, it is still more affordable to buy in Jacksonville than to rent. There are several factors that determine this, namely:

  • What is your down payment?
  • Do you have a VA loan?
  • What interest rate can you secure?
  • What are the property taxes in the area you wish to buy?

But because interest rates are so low right now, it is generally less expensive to buy than to rent. For example, a home that rents for $1,700 would likely have a mortgage payment closer to $1,300. 

The higher rental market is actually good news for military families who choose to buy. We always discuss rentability with our military families, as many will end up renting the home in the future. Knowing what a home will eventually command in rent is an important aspect to consider before buying. 

A Personal Decision

It’s easy to answer the rent vs. buy question in generalities, but ultimately it is a personal decision dependent on your unique needs and situation. At Hover Girl Properties, most of our staff is either military or a military spouse, so we’ve had to answer this question ourselves many times. We’d love to talk with you to learn more about your move and help you navigate this important decision.