Jacksonville, Florida's new-home market is hanging tough, supported by job and population growth rates that are among the top in the nation.

Monthly new-home sales and the average sales rate have been trending slightly higher year over year. Annual starts are improving quarter over quarter, but annual closings have continued to see decreases.

Total new-home inventory has experienced moderate increases but ended 2023 lower than 2022. The average number of quick move-in homes per project has been decreasing from its summer 2023 high, a positive sign given Jacksonville is one of three markets nationally that have seen the most significant increases in QMls compared with pre-pandemic 2019.

Strengths

The percentage premium buyers pay on attached new homes is negative as the gap between new and existing attached prices remains narrow. Jacksonville's year-over-year job growth rate remains healthy and continues to outperform Florida and the nation.

Weaknesses

Vacant developed lot inventory has contracted again and remains undersupplied. Months of supply of vacant developed lots is below the equilibrium range of 20 to 24 months. The market has become more expensive relative to itself; overvaluation of Jacksonville's housing is forecast to remain elevated in 2024.

Supply

Quarterly housing starts increased 43.2% over a year ago, while the number of available vacant developed lots sits at 12,146, up 12.9% over the same quarter last year. In terms of supply/demand balance, the market is 1.81% undersupplied.

Sales

New-home sales in the Jacksonville area decreased 2.8% year over year to an annualized rate of 8,337 units in December. Existing-home closings for the 12 months ending in November posted a year-over-year decline of 28.3% to an annualized rate of 28,115 units.

Prices

The average list price for a new detached home in the Jacksonville region increased 1.9% from 2022 to $487,031 in December, while the average list price for a new attached home increased 5.7% over the same period to $354,853. Homes priced under $250,000 experienced the most closing activity over the past year. The new-home affordability ratio for a detached home reached 28.2% in November.

Economy

Total nonfarm employment in the Jacksonville metropolitan statistical area increased by 3.7% year over year to 814,300 payrolls in November, with approximately 700 more jobs compared with the previous month. The local unemployment rate increased to 3.1% in November compared with 3% in October. November's jobless rate is higher than it was at the same time in 2022 when it stood at 2.7%. Zonda forecasts the region's unemployment rate will finish the year at 2.2%.

Community

The population of the Jacksonville area is approximately 1,711,810 people and is projected to increase by 0.9% in 2024. There are about 693,500 households in the region, which is up 1.7% year over year. Forecasts show current household formation is expected to increase by an annual growth rate of 10.1% for 2028. Incomes rose by 5.3% from the previous year to $88,410.