The recent Jacksonville Sales and Marketing Council meeting of the Northeast Florida Builders’ Association was focused on a “St. Johns County Update”. The featured speakers were Eddie Creamer, the St. Johns County Property Appraiser, and Scott Maynard, from the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce. This was a fascinating discussion, especially considering Ponte Vedra Beach and Ponte Vedra are located in St. Johns County.
Eddie Creamer has been the St. Johns Property Appraiser for six years (he started in 2017). His department creates the county tax roll and annually assesses properties to determine their just market values. According to Creamer, 1000 people a month are moving to St. Johns County. The steady influx of new residents has led to dramatic growth in the county population. In fact, the number of taxable parcels of land in St. Johns County has grown by 23% in the last seven years. And, in the last six years, there have been 68,000 new filings for homestead exemptions.
St. Johns County property values have seen a dramatic rise in the last several years. Creamer noted that market values in the county have risen 162% since 2017! In 2022, property values increased by 32%, and so far this year, we’ve seen a 26.6% increase in property values. Even though property values in St. Johns County are strong, the area is still “affordable” when compared to other parts of Florida. For example, property values in South Florida are still much higher than those here in the Northeast corner of the state.
Scott Maynard, the Vice President of Economic Development for the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce, echoed Creamer’s comments about the incredible growth of St. Johns County. According to Maynard, 1000 people a day are moving to Florida. Florida has the 15th largest economy in the world. Small businesses are an important part of Florida’s economy and 45.5% of our workforce is employed by small businesses.
In 2022, the population of St. Johns County was 297,000 residents. Of those residents, 68,000 work in another county AND 42,000 of the people who work in St. Johns County live in another county. Whether coming or going, traffic is heavy!
The unemployment rate in St. Johns County is lower than the rest of the nation, and finding workers has become a big issue for companies that are hiring. The biggest employers in the county are:
- Baptist Medical Center
- St. Vincent's/Ascension Medical Center
- St. Johns County Public School District
- St. Johns Sheriff’s Department
One of the biggest issues the county is facing is the lack of affordable housing. Additionally, according to Maynard, the primary tax base in St. Johns County is residential housing. Our area needs more commercial and light industrial businesses to offset the cost of infrastructure and reduce the pressure on the residential tax base.
Tourism is another form of income to the St. Johns County government. In 2021, the income from the bed tax was up 21% bringing in a total of $14.3 million dollars of income to the county. Tourism is no longer a seasonal industry. Visitors are coming to the county all year long.
Over the past several years, our team has really noticed the influx of buyers moving to our area, especially from the Northeast. Many of those buyers are coming with the expectation that home values are dropping here in Ponte Vedra Beach, which is not the case. Our real estate values are holding firm, despite the increase in interest rates and fears of a recession.
Lisa Barton, the owner of Lisa Barton Team Ponte Vedra Beach - Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners, is a top real estate agent in Ponte Vedra Beach and the surrounding communities. Lisa specializes in luxury real estate sales, including gated communities, waterfront properties, and estate homes. A graduate from the University of Florida and George Mason University, Lisa currently resides in Marsh Landing with her husband.