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‘Prices will go up:’ The hidden costs of downtown development on Jacksonville homeowners

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Whether it’s from the highly anticipated Four Seasons development, the $2 billion Jacksonville Jaguars ‘Stadium of the Future’ and entertainment district renovations or Gateway Jax’s plan to reshape downtown with a $2 billion project of its own, Downtown Jacksonville will never be the same.

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However, while these investments are expected to bring new life and new businesses to the heart of Jacksonville, Dr. Richard Buttimer, the dean for the University of North Florida’s College of Business, told Action News Jax it will come with a cost, particularly to those living in and around Downtown Jacksonville.

“My guess is home prices will go up over time,” said Dr. Buttimer. “As demand increases in the downtown corridor, you tend to see rents and home prices going up.”

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According to data given to Action News Jax from Zillow, prices already have started to climb. Jacksonville’s 32206 zip code, which covers many neighborhoods right alongside the city’s downtown core, has already seen the highest rent growth of any zip code in the city over the last year, with rent prices up 12.6% since August of 2022.

“The reason home prices are going up everywhere is [because] we’re not producing as much housing is there as demand,” explained Dr. Buttimer. “And so, we’ve got to increase the supply of housing.”

Meanwhile, Timothy Newman, the president of North Florida Mortgage Brokers, said he fully expects more housing to accompany these monumental commercial investments from the city.

“The housing supply that should be brought on in [the] surrounding area should be affordable housing, lower income housing, housing below $300,000,” Newman said.

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When asked about the city’s plans for affordable housing to accompany these major developments, the Mayor’s Office sent Action News Jax this statement:

“Affordable housing will be a key priority for downtown. There are existing affordable housing loans and REV grants available for downtown developers. Mayor Deegan’s Transition Subcommittee on Housing has also provided policy and funding recommendations that are currently under consideration to grow the inventory of affordable housing units downtown and across the city.”

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Dr. Buttimer also outlined for Action News Jax how the rise in home values could actually be a benefit to many living near the downtown core.

“Somewhere between 60 and 65% of people in the nation and in Florida and Jacksonville already have their own home. So, there’s a lot of people that benefit when home prices go up,” explained Dr. Buttimer. “It’s one of the biggest investments many people make.”

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However, Dr. Buttimer also said there are downsides to those rising values, even for those who already own a home.

“The dollars you pay in taxes do tend to go up … if you’re on a fixed income, it’s tough to meet those higher taxes,” he said.

Meanwhile, Jacksonville residents are left to wonder if it’s all worth it in the end.

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