Jacksonville, Florida, is home to two major military installations. Naval Air Space (NAS) is located in Duval County, just 8 miles south of the central business district. Naval Station Mayport, along the St. John’s River, is the third-largest naval facility in the United States.
With such a strong military presence, navy personnel and their families need accommodation in Jacksonville. If you own rental property, here’s why marketing to navy families is a smart move.
A tenant that’s in the military has a stable income. Navy salaries average around $65,000 per year. That’s $5,400 per month. In addition, military personnel who are not provided with government housing, receive a basic housing allowance towards rent and utility costs.
Renting to navy personnel, therefore, means your rental income is likely to be secure. Most navy personnel can comfortably meet their financial obligations and, thanks to their military training, are diligent about paying their bills. They’re unlikely to pay their rent late or skip payments.
Both the Naval Air Station and Naval Station Mayport are located in Duval County. Not all navy personnel, however, live on the base. There is a big demand for off-base rentals. If you plan to rent to navy families, areas like Atlantic Beach and Jacksonville Beach are a good choice. Both are less than a 30-minute drive to Naval Station Mayport and families will enjoy living a stone’s throw from the beach.
very landlord knows how fickle tenants can be. Not every tenant pays the rent on time or stays for the duration of their lease. Problems with tenants can mean having to hire a lawyer to evict them before their lease ends. Fortunately, Duval Count is landlord-friendly and evictions are easier to handle than in other parts of Florida. Nevertheless, most landlords prefer a long-term tenant.
With a military family, you’ll have a long-term tenant. Typically, enlisted military personnel are on active duty for four years and inactive duty as an Individual Ready Reservist (IRR) for two years. Deployment to a base is for approximately 2.5 - 3 years. This gives you a consistent rental income for at least three years before searching for a new tenant.
Casting the net wide makes it harder to snag good tenants. Once you become established in a niche market like navy families, finding tenants becomes easier.
Being in the military often means moving around frequently. Navy families tend to relocate every three years. As families leave, new ones arrive. If your home becomes a popular rental with navy families, it’s availability will spread organically via word-of-mouth. The exiting family may recommend it to new families searching for accommodation.
You can also get in touch with the naval base’s Housing Service Center. They’ll be happy to add your home to their off-base housing list.
Besides a healthy rental income, buying an investment property in Jacksonville comes with other benefits as well. Property taxes in Duval County are lower and homeowners insurance in certain zip code areas is also lower. Whether you choose to market to navy families or the general public, you’ll enjoy a healthy return on investment.
From March 2018 to March 2019, rent prices in Jacksonville increased by 6.3%. By all estimates, Jacksonville’s rental market is set to continue growing. In fact, Jacksonville’s rental yield is one of the highest in the country. This is good news for property investors.
Rent for single-family homes costs between $1,300 and $2,000. However, it’s not only families looking for 4-bedroom houses. Apartments are also sought by navy personnel who are single. The average rent price for a 965 square-foot apartment in Jacksonville is $1,109. Neighborhoods like Magnolia Park and Moncrief Park are more affordable at $673. More upmarket neighborhoods like Brooklyn and La Villa average $1,382 in rent.
Because Jacksonville is a military city, there are several property management agents that assist navy renters. Signing up with one of these rental agencies can make the process easier, especially if you own more than one rental property. Navy to Navy Homes, for example, can list your property, screen candidates, manage rent collection, conduct move-in and move-out inspections, and even handle an eviction.
In Jacksonville, navy families are always moving in and out, so you should enjoy a steady stream of reliable tenants. Navy families are a good market to pursue as they offer the stability of a long-term stay. Moving a family is stressful. If you can offer a comfortable family home in close proximity to the navy base, most families won’t consider a second move during their deployment period.