Best location to invest in Florida

47 Replies

Hi everyone. Looking to purchase my investment property in Florida and was wondering where the best markets are right now.. My idea is to buy and hold for 3-5 years, renting long-term in the meantime and hopefully get some good valuation on it. Not sure if I'm too late for Orlando? Any suggestions? 

I'm interested to see the replies on this one from my fellow Florida investors.  As for my thoughts, the areas surrounding Orlando seem to offer better opportunity for rentals than my area of South Florida.

I run numbers through my property calculator for alot of FL counties and most areas in the northern half of FL look better than down here, on paper at least.  

If you need a property calculator feel free to DM me and you can have a copy of mine.

I’m a fellow Florida investor (and a proud native).  I’m lurking in this thread out of interest myself.  I have invested a good bit in rural North Florida and the returns are low to medium unless you get into low C and D class properties.  Lots of people do that in other areas and make great money, but it isn’t my thing.  The deals have definitely dried up though and I’m looking st other markets, possibly Gainesville.

As usual the answer is “ It Depends!”

- are you buy and hold? Flipping? BRRRR? Turnkey? Single or Multi-Family?

- what’s your risk tolerance?

- do you prefer to manage or hire a management company?

- Are you local or long distance?  If distance how far are you willing drive/fly?

Regardless of your market you probably need to start with your goals and defining what you will and won’t do.  In short “best market” is completely subjective based on your goals and requirements.

Hi Charles. I currently live in Miami, where I don't think there are many good opportunities at the moment, which is why I'm looking elsewhere in Florida. So I would have to hire a management company and it would be buy and hold (3-5 years is my initial intention). 

Miami, ouch...

From my perspective South Florida is like Atlanta, San Francisco, etc. where there are deals to be had but you bettter have cash ready and be willing to put $500k up for a shanty.  But again, my perspective...I don’t know the market and wouldn’t invest there right now.

One of the less expensive markets I’ve been seeing is JAX.  Seems there are a few turnkey companies there and plenty of deals being posted on the board here.  Have you looked there?

have a fiend who invests in the Tampa area but the management company he uses operates all across central Florida, I’ll reach out to him and see who they are.  I think they do some turn key properties on the right coast.

Full disclosure, I am from Jacksonville, live here, work here, invest here.

No Surprise I am going to say JAX!

There has been steady job growth and the market is moving up.  we are not over heated like Orlando or Miami.  Google - "can the average worker afford the average house in...?"  If there is a news story saying so, then the city is most likely over heated and is going to be challenged to continue upward.

There are deals, but it requires making fast decisions and having money.  The best deals move quickly and you have to have a network to get them early.   

@Lua Jambeiro I'll concur with @Charles Soper and @Lesley Resnick .

1. It depends on what you're after. they're not quite growing on trees like they used to and they mythical 2% rule deal in a B or C+ area certainly doesn't exist here.

2. To Lesley's point, I've heard and read a lot of good things about the JAX market, however ( no offense Lesley!) I don't know if the fundamentals are as strong. Part of Orlando's strength is the high YOY job growth in middle to high income fields. 

https://www.multihousingnews.com/post/job-growth-b...

http://blog.orlandoedc.com/blog/orlando-number-one...

Hope that's helpful!

Orlando and Miami are destination cities. They have strong tourism and will always be destinations people fly to, from around the world. Tampa and Jax are similar, they try and duplicate what Orlando and Miami offer, but are not quite the mass destination cities, UNLESS it is specialized. Lots of cruises go out of Tampa and Jax, you have more cities around Tampa (Clearwater, St. Pete, Sarasota) and its a destination for retirees down to Naples and Marco. Jax has great medical facilities (20% of local GDP) and is the #1 destination in FL for golfers. World Golf Village and PGA Tour located in the area. Flights between Atlanta and Jax are always full. Jax is also a great boating destination.

In the August 10, 2018 Jax Business Journal, they ran on Page 3 a great infographic. 92.5% of homes in the Jacksonville market kept their value compare this to 56.4% in Miami. Jax is a steady market and with unemployment below 3% in the city, a strong market too. 

There are still deals to be found in and around Central FL/ Orlando. Tampa and Jax are also good choices. Central FL will be a great place to invest for a long time based on appreciation alone. 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/samanthasharf/2018/02/01/full-list-where-to-invest-in-housing-in-2018/#67a0d0a3627e

  • @Lua Jambeiro I'm also in Miami and have been thinking a lot of about where else in Florida is a good place to go right now for a BRRRR and/or a long-term multifamily rental(s).
  • From what I've read and heard, and to agree with most of the recommendations on this thread are that JAX and Tampa are good to go.  I've also been looking south of Tampa/St.Pete a bit at the Ft. Myers/Cape Coral area.  
  • If you would like to discuss further feel free to message me.  Best, Brendan.

I think that it depends a lot on the type of strategy / strategies you are looking to implement in your investing. Some areas are better than others for investing in buy and hold, other areas may see a higher appreciation in a shorter amount of time. With appreciation you are speculating more, and the risk you are taking may be higher, but return could also be greater. If you are looking to buy for cash flow and go through numbers there is still risk, as there is with any investment, but you are able to potentially have more control over your investment. Also comes back to the type of property you are looking at investing in, residential properties are heavily influenced by comps in the area, and multifamily properties over 5 units are evaluated differently and take more note on the financials that are associated with them, and the cap rate of the area. 

Thanks everyone for the input. The reason I was thinking of Orlando/Tampa is that as this will be my first investment property I wanted to be relatively close to it. Even though I'm going to use a property management company to manage the property, if anything were to happen that needed my presence it's a quick drive up from Miami to Orlando or Tampa. Jax is too far for me. 

I was looking at some condos in Downtown Orlando because I heard that they're getting a new campus or something like that soon which could possibly raise prices and help with price appreciation...? I've also heard that Downtown Tampa and St. Pete have been growing. But then others also told me that Winter Haven, Davenport or Lakeland would be safer bets. 

But yes, still kind of new to this. For my first one I intend to pay in cash and get a newer condo/townhouse with little maintenance needed for around $140k, renting it out long-term and selling if and when the comps in the area are higher. I know my options are limited but I've seen some out there. Now it's just a matter of trying to predict the best location to get the most out of my investment.

I am in a similar situation as you where I am looking to make my first investment but constantly run into the dilemma where I am offering on properties and getting outbid by the competition. Finding deals down here is tough but they are out there. Part of my frustrations have opened the door to investing outside of my primary farm area. I would be very interested in hearing the opinions of everyone else, so have any of you considered the Port St. Lucie market? I have started to move my search up in that direction and I have been able to see some really interesting opportunities there. It is only, at max, a two-hour drive away and it's not crazy competitive. The fundamentals seem okay: population, unemployment, recent and long-term job growth are all trending better than the national average.

What are your (@Everyone) thoughts on this market?

P.S. This is a great post @Lua Jambeiro because it starts the conversation and gets people talking about something that we all want to know. There has been some great feedback on this forum and I look forward to seeing what others have to say.

I do vacation rentals over disney area and have long term rentals in orlando and north of orlando.  My vacation rentals are pulling in 3X the amount of my long term rentals.  Just depends on how you invest

I currently own one property in Jacksonville. It provides great returns. Right now im closing on a duplex in SW Florida, Charlotte County. As a newbie (like me), I would recommend staying away from the larger markets. I live in Palm Beach County, but I would never dream of investing here. Anything I can afford, is a WAR ZONE.

Some areas I would check out are Jacksonville (specifically North Jax) and the west coast of Florida (Tampa, Port Charlotte, Fort Meyers etc.) Heres a few data points I like to research before selecting an area to invest in.

  • Less than 15% poverty

  • Higher than national average population growth

  • Low crime area

  • Not in a flood zone

Best of Luck! Feel free to contact me if you have any more questions.

Originally posted by @Jason Luongo :

I currently own one property in Jacksonville. It provides great returns. Right now im closing on a duplex in SW Florida, Charlotte County. As a newbie (like me), I would recommend staying away from the larger markets. I live in Palm Beach County, but I would never dream of investing here. Anything I can afford, is a WAR ZONE.

Some areas I would check out are Jacksonville (specifically North Jax) and the west coast of Florida (Tampa, Port Charlotte, Fort Meyers etc.) Heres a few data points I like to research before selecting an area to invest in.

  • Less than 15% poverty

  • Higher than national average population growth

  • Low crime area

  • Not in a flood zone

Best of Luck! Feel free to contact me if you have any more questions.

 You know, I feel the same way. I live in South Orlando and I can see that what I can afford now, with my mortgage and my paycheck income, is a place like Poinciana which they keep trying to "bring up" but you can't bring up a city with constant violent crime and schools with "1 of 10" rating and students reviewing that they have active gang members as classmates. 

Now that place is a no-go for me. 

But out of curiosity, has anyone been unlucky or possibly lucky? to have an investment their? 

Great question..there are many markets. I have partnerships with a few companies in Florida that fund my deals, check out rehab etc once I get deals, plus I have people bring me leads in many markets . today I closed on 4 deals in broward county that have close to 650k of equity one is an apartment complex . all came from one guy. Feel free to pm me if want to..funny part florida is my 3rd biggest market behind Texas and California. Guess what? I don't live in Florida . if I can get deals and don't live in Florida what is the issue with those who live in Florida? All good plenty of deals for everybody .

Would love to exhume the chat and see what fellow investors are thinking in 2020. I have an upcoming 1031 Exchange and looking for opportunities in Florida that is not my current market(Miami). If anybody has any multifamily deals that have solid fundamentals, would like to chat.

I buy in Jax, Orlando and Tampa. Good markets with population and job growth, as well as rent growth. Properties also appreciate there. These are my main reasons to invest there. You can find info on population, job and rent growth on city0data.com and census.gov. 

I am in Ocala and find the rental market here very hot with few available rentals for the number of people searching for them.  We also have a large World Equestrian Center being built, which is a luxury home and horse show venue, complete with new hotel.  Several corporate distribution centers are being built, in addition to the current Fed Ex, Chewy, and Autozone.