Ocala, Florida, is the main city and county seat of Marion County in northern Florida.
This landlocked city is known for its cold weather, sunny days, quaint old town feel, and horse farms.
If you love being outside, watching thoroughbred races, or enjoying the slower side of life, this is one of the best places to move to in the southern United States.
But, one thing of genuine concern in the area recently has been the housing prices in Marion County.
Did the economic recession hurt the Ocala market?
How has Ocala real estate recovered? Is it now a seller’s market?
Find out more about why homes are so cheap in Ocala, Marion County, Florida.
Why Are Homes So Cheap?
There are many reasons and guesses why homes are so cheap in Ocala, Marion County, and Florida as a whole.
Some possible explanations for the housing market could be weather and climate. Florida is quickly losing land and submerging due to Global Warming and climate change.
There are dozens of beach floods, unpredictable weather warnings, and tropical storms.
Due to the transient nature of climate change, Florida will become one of the first states to be completely submerged underwater due to rising ocean levels and higher temperatures.
In addition, jobs in Florida could be lower-paying than in other parts of the country.
Coupling low-paying jobs with a lower cost of living could show that home prices are lower than the national average. In addition, after the tropical storm of Katrina, the BP Oil Spill, and economic downturns, many Floridians could not afford to sell their homes.
What Happened After the 2008 Financial Crisis?
Homes across the nation, especially in Florida, decreased in value after the 2008 financial crisis.
After the economic recession, many homeowners could not afford to sell their homes since they would not receive enough money to pay their mortgages.
In this case, these homeowners had to let their homes go into foreclosure and lose money.
Despite the houses becoming much cheaper for the initial period after the 2008 financial crisis, houses have drastically risen in the past few years.
Due to higher local taxes and prices on rental properties, the housing market has increased in Florida and Ocala.
Some places in Florida have cheaper homes, like Orlando or Silver Springs. The state of the economy, interest rates, and investors determine housing prices.
Was the Recovery Slower Than Other Parts of Florida?
The Ocala and Marion County areas had a housing crisis before the 2008 recession.
The real estate prices skyrocketed to $162,000 by the end of 2005, compared to just $119,000 at the beginning of the year.
The houses in the Ocala, Florida area increased by over 30% for two years in a row, showing how these incredible prices affect new homeowners, first-time home buyers, and low-income families.
The affordable housing crisis caused numerous low-income families to have to move or live beyond their means due to a lack of low-priced housing in the area.
The lack of affordable housing caused the Housing Authority in Ocala to begin issuing Section 8 rent vouchers to help over 1,100 families stay and live in the area.
But why did this happen? In short, Ocala, and Florida, as a whole, experienced an incoming boom as more families are looking to buy houses for less than the asking median price.
Although hundreds of thousands of houses were in the building phase, the housing market faced difficulties due to the ever-increasing prices of land and the zoned lots.
Therefore, the housing options for many low and moderate-income families were few and far between.
There were residences available, but they were overpriced. Families could not find a home located in a good school district with access to the necessary amenities.
Ocala potentially took longer to respond than other counties in Florida due to the zoning laws, lack of affordable houses, and the influx of people in the area.
Current Housing Market in Ocala
Despite the years of low housing prices and being less desirable than other parts of Florida, Ocala has had an upswing in recent years.
Ocala is one of the leading destinations for retirees due to the mild climate, soil-rich environment, eco-tourism, horse development, and desirable weather.
After the recession in 2008, Ocala focused on adding jobs every year since 2011, experiencing economic growth and adding job vacancies in various companies like mining, logging, and new construction sectors.
But what about the housing market? Ocala has been striving to build more properties, such as condos, luxury condominiums, and ranch houses for horse lovers. By increasing the supply, Ocala can work with sellers to find the ideal buyer for their house.
The current housing market in Ocala is balanced, with the for-sale inventory increasing for single-family homes in the area.
Although there was a decline in real estate sales in 2020, new sales still have led to an increase in total home sales during the seller’s market phase. The total property sales in Ocala has increased by 4.8% in the last year, with the existing home sales price coming to $149,200.
Known as the horse capital of the world and featuring national beauties like Ocala National Forest, it is no wonder people want to move to Marion County, Florida. With houses in high demand, new construction must take place to solve the housing crisis, offer more properties on the market, and increase the population.
Ocala must build more homes to become more affordable to new home buyers, retirees, and low-income individuals. After all, people looking here for retirement need to be able to afford a house without wasting all of their hard-earned cash on an overpriced house!
By building more homes for Ocala real estate, realtors can then work with a rental property owner to give them detailed information on putting their home on the market. Then, realtors can give potential buyers a sense of how much the home will cost, the benefits of the location (close to shopping centers!), and the features that make this property stand out.
Offering more homes in this desirable area can help balance the housing prices and solve the housing bubble issue in the Ocala market and Marion County, Florida.