Friday, April 20

Are Jacksonville Home Buyers Looking For Big, Older Homes?

I was standing in a wonderful house north of Blue Cypress Park when one person in the conversation said that homes like the one we were in were taking off as far as demand and value. I totally believed her, and I think she said it was a realtor who had told her the information. I decided to take a look at recently sold homes to see if the data matched what we seemed to collectively believe in the conversation.


What I'm doing is just taking the "Recently Sold" homes on Zillow from two different areas, one being just north and west of Blue Cypress Park (Area 1), where these better-built, older homes are located. The other area (Area 2 - Kernan and McCormick) will be near where I live, where there are some newer and cheaply-built large homes mixed with some slightly smaller homes, but most of the area was built after 1990 and into the 2000s. I'll keep the search to Newest, and list the last 20 for each area. I think the best way to tell is just price per square foot. If people really do want these large, older homes, then they should be paying a premium per square foot, even if the home needs a little bit of updating. I am searching for 4+ bed homes between $200,000 and $400,000.

Area 1
Price per square foot:
109 / 102 / 104 / 98 / 102 / 99 / 100 / 107 / 100 / 104 / 110 / 64 / 87 / 101 / 95 / 80 / 86 / 98 / 115 / 79
That's back to August of 2017

Area 2
Price per square foot
114 / 155 / 117 / 98 / 136 / 105 / 140 / 115 / 124 / 102 / 121 / 116 / 126 / 118 / 127 / 132 / 108 / 138 / 127 / 135
That's back to October of 2017

Let's drop to the highest and lowest from each list.

Area 1 is getting $98 per square foot. Area 2 is at $122. Maybe I was expecting too much. Honestly, I did not know about the area before I moved here, and a lot of the zip code-based data I analyzed might have thrown that area out of my search. Also, you could make an argument for an upward trend in the sale prices for Area 1, whereas Area 2 seems more flat. Lastly, just like the homes we found near Kansas City that were good deals per square foot, I think Area 1 has a lot of places that need more than a coat of paint, so sellers can't expect to get the same prices as homes that are 20-30 years newer.

As I scrolled to even newer home areas, I could see the price per square foot go more towards $150. Basically, I agree that the 70s homes were better built than my 2000s home, and my 2000s home is probably better than a 2015 in some ways, people are still paying more for newer. My 1950s ranch was better than my 1978 contemporary, and my 1926 bungalow was more solid than the ranch in many respects, but those houses aren't worth as much as our current house.

Of course, realtors can analyze based on historical trends in a way that I can't. Perhaps three years ago, Area 1 was only getting $70 per square foot, and the increase has been faster than other, newer areas. So I don't doubt that these older homes are seeing an increase. In fact, I'd rather have a solid (but updated) 70s house surrounded by mature trees and steady neighbors. But I'm also happy with what I have, so I'm not going to move anytime soon.

[UPDATE]
I wanted to adjust this analysis to include "big" a bit more. I chose 4 bedroom houses, but big is more than just that. Let's make sure these homes are 2000+ square feet and choose the same number of homes. I assume Area 2 will change more, since there are a lot of sub-2000 square foot homes with 4 bedrooms near me.

Area 1
Price per square foot:
109 / 102 / 104 / 98 / 102 / 99 / 100 / 107 / 100 / 104 / 110 / 64 / 87 / 101 / 95 / 80 / 86 / 98 / 115 / 79 / 99
That's back to August of 2017

Area 2
Price per square foot
130 / 105 / 114 / 125 / 105 / 117 / 98 / 133 / 136 / 105 / 112 / 115 / 137 / 102 / 121 / 116 / 109 / 118 / 108 / 138
 That's back to October of 2017

Area 1 changed by one house, whereas Area 2 had several changes. Area 1 is still about the same - $98 per square foot.  Now my area is more like $117 per square foot. I paid $107 per square foot myself last summer, and I remember it being a decent deal for the size, so this seems pretty accurate.

With taking 2000+ square feet into consideration, we can see that these older homes do, in fact, command a decent price. It's more surprising that the under-2000 square foot homes near me continue to get as much as they do. I've seen all kinds of garage conversions and other silly ways to try to get more out of these smaller floor plans, yet people are still paying a premium to get into them, but that's probably a different article.