Guide to House Hacking in Jacksonville, Florida

One of Florida’s northernmost major cities, Jacksonville is a city that has plenty of people interested in seeing what the local real estate has to offer. Are you interested in house hacking Jacksonville?

In this post, we’re going to focus on the data-driven metrics of Jacksonville, Florida. This will provide the information, strategies, and knowledge needed in order to push the odds in your favor for a successful house hack.

Let’s dive into it and see what potential the city of Jacksonville has to offer house hackers.

Jacksonville: Tenant Friendly, or Landlord Friendly?

Florida is known for being more friendly to landlords than tenants, as shown on the map below. While the cities like Jacksonville tend to be a touch friendlier to tenants, there isn’t anything in Jacksonville’s city specific regulations that scare me off.

The overall balance of rights vs obligations in Florida’s Tenant Rights & Responsibilities definitely favors landlords and would make me more comfortable house hacking, especially if a problem came up with a renter at some point.

United States map showing tenant versus landlord friendly states

This means the risks that come with investing in Jacksonville’s market or house hacking in that city aren’t going to come from the courts being too tenant friendly for my tastes. This opens up looking at what Jacksonville has to offer and checking out local Jacksonville property values.

The most recent average property values (mean) for Jacksonville are:

  • All housing units – $236,496
  • Detached houses – $251,877
  • Townhouses – $157,968
  • Duplexes – $347,195
  • 3 & 4 Unit Structures – $150,870
  • 5+ Unit Structures – $171,851

The median gross rent is $1,099 a month for the city of Jacksonville, FL.

These numbers can give you a better idea of what properties offer the most potential for a house hack.

Jacksonville Demographic Data Analysis

We have six major benchmarks we want to see a city hit when it comes to determining how much house hacking potential the city has. These data points can tell us a lot about the overall health of the city, its real estate markets, and how bright (or frightening) the future looks for the area from a real estate perspective.

When it comes to these six specific metrics, this is how Jacksonville compares to our benchmarks:

Data PointBenchmark (since 2000)Jacksonville
Population Growth20%23.9%
Income Growth30%41.3%
Property Value Growth40%138%
Crime Level< 500367
Crime Change0% or declining+4%
Job Growth> 1%4.58%

Overall, Jacksonville looks like it has potential for house hacking. It passes five out of six of our data points, however it’s worth noting that the large jump in crime definitely is something I don’t want to see and can indicate deeper rooted problems under the surface numbers.

That is a trend that will be very important to pay attention to, because too many years of rising crime rates in a row like that can have a negative domino effect on many other of the benchmarks we pay attention to, but at the moment if that doesn’t frighten you off the other numbers seem to indicate that Jacksonville is worth looking at.

4 Strategies for House Hacking Jacksonville

There are four major strategies I recommend for finding a profitable house hack in the Jacksonville area. If you implement these your chances of finding a profitable deal with go up immensely.

Look at Multi-Unit Properties Other Than Duplexes

In many cities duplexes are comparable in cost to single family homes, making them a very good deal for a savvy investor. However, it seems the people around Jacksonville are a bit more familiar with house hacking than many other cities as duplexes tend to be notably more expensive, cancelling out some of the benefit from house hacking you would normally expect.

That said, there is less demand for multi-family homes, Triplexes, and other multi-unit properties, which are less expensive on average.

Some of this can be attributed to far more of these properties being located in less desirable working class neighborhoods than in nicer neighborhoods, but these are worth seeking out to see if you can find one in an area you’re comfortable in.

This doesn’t mean don’t look at duplexes at all, just make sure to carefully run the numbers with our free house hacking calculator and don’t be surprised if it’s harder to find duplexes that make the numbers work.

Pay Attention to The Neighborhood

The neighborhood matters a lot in Jacksonville as to what the opportunities are. Jacksonville tends to be heavily divided into neighborhoods, meaning a difference of a few blocks from one neighborhood to another can make a huge difference in how good the property potential is.

Getting familiar with the local neighborhood and reaching out to local realtors and other specialists to learn about specific parts of Jacksonville is crucial to figuring out which properties will work for you and which won’t.

Don’t forget that with a house hack you’re going to be living there so it’s important to make sure you’re comfortable with the neighborhood and the area before committing.

Look for Short-Term or Creative Rental Opportunities

While Jacksonville isn’t the top Florida tourist attraction, they still see over 20 million visitors a year. While many of these visitors are just there for a day or a weekend, that’s still plenty of opportunity for short-term rentals on a consistent basis.

Universities like UNF, Jacksonville University, and others offer more opportunities for when families and friends comes to visit, and NFL fans will be eager to see the Jacksonville Jaguars during the regular season.

If you have an out building or garage you don’t use, consider offering storage space for rent. If you’re located near a high school there might be a program for providing housing for a foreign exchange student.

There are many creative options for increasing short-term rental income and this can be an important way to get the most out of a Jacksonville house hack.

Use Creative Funding Options

A conventional loan is always a good fallback option, but it’s often not the best one. Aside from rarely having the best available rates, a bank often wants to see 10% or even 20% down, which can be a big ask for many potential home buyers.

An FHA home loan only requires 3.5% and is almost always available for first-time home buyers. As long as the recipient is living there, you could use an FHA loan for house hacking.

Another option for many is the VA loan. These often have much better terms than a conventional bank loan, and using a VA loan for house hacking is a practice that is also 100% acceptable as long as the person taking the loan lives at that property as their primary residence.

You can always refinance the mortgage if you need to move later.

For triplexes and above, talk to the seller about if they’re willing to fund the deal themselves and even if you have to go with a conventional loan, if the property is multi-unit then make sure that you count 70% of the expected rent towards what you can qualify for from the bank.

This can open up multi-unit properties that might otherwise be out of reach for you.

Should I House Hack Airbnb Jacksonville Florida?

Airbnb is a viable option for getting more from house hacking efforts. While it isn’t going to get nearly the tourism of Orlando or Miami, Jacksonville is a city that offers a lot to visitors and sees its fair share of enthusiastic tourists each year.

Location is going to be a massive determining factor of whether or not you can go the Airbnb route in Jacksonville. Average prices tend to be be $75 a night on the low side up to $150. These are weekday prices when there’s no holiday and it’s not tourist season.

Weekends and tourism heavy seasons will bump up those numbers, which shows there is definite potential there.

Jacksonville Florida Neighborhood Real Estate Guide

Jacksonville is one of those cities where location matters a lot. This isn’t to say that the best neighborhoods will have a good deal that works with the numbers, or that there aren’t good deals in the worst neighborhoods – but it’s important to understand the challenges that exist.

Best Neighborhoods in Jacksonville for House Hacking

  • Windy Hill
  • San Marco
  • Riverside
  • Downtown
  • Jacksonville Beach
  • Baymeadows

This is a combination of crime numbers, housing demand, and affordability for the average investor. These can change very quickly in even a few years, so always look for on the ground information but these are the neighborhoods I’d start in if I was house hunting Jacksonville.

Worst Neighborhoods in Jacksonville

Our definition of worst focuses mainly on crime and uses multiple sources like Area Vibes, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, and of course first-hand accounts from current and former Jacksonville residents.

  • 29th & Chase
  • Mid-Westside
  • Springfield
  • East Jacksonville
  • Moncrief Park
  • New Town
  • Lackawanna
  • North Jacksonville

These neighborhoods are rougher than others, and you’re going to be fighting an uphill battle to find a good property in a good little slice of an area neighborhood.

Should You House Hack Jacksonville, FL?

Overall, despite some challenges and a rising crime rate that is a bit concerning, Jacksonville is a great city that does have a lot to offer. There are some fantastic neighborhoods here, property values are up, and there’s a lot of opportunity for real estate investors willing to hustle to find that perfect property.

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Analyzed by: Shane Dayton
Whether it was helping a friend build a cabin from scratch in central Alaska, scouting & analyzing Austin Texas neighborhoods, or exploring rural Iowa Airbnb potential, the variety of opportunities real estate offers have caught Shane's attention. After years of this, he brings his experience and passion for real estate to Everything House Hacking.

Learn more here.