Are you searching for a gorgeous new home located in a desirable Central Florida location? If you’re imagining your home in an area of tree-lined streets that evoke true Southern charm, surrounded by magnificent natural attractions, and fulfilling a laid-back lifestyle, then look no further than the city of Ocala, Florida.
This city is home to approximately 65,000 people and is generally considered neither too big nor too small, but just right! Known as the Horse Capital of the World thanks to the more than 600 thoroughbred farms around town, Ocala is a quaint locale that offers all of the expected city amenities with easy access to daily necessities.
Choosing to invest in real estate is an overwhelmingly sound decision, and selecting Ocala as the location is a smart option, too. Here are 7 reasons to invest in Ocala real estate.
1. Natural Beauty and Outdoor Recreation Abounds
Ocala has unique landscapes with stunning natural beauty, including rolling hills, lush pastures, and crystal-clear springs. The area offers ample opportunities for outdoor recreation, and living here allows you to enjoy these picturesque scenes and an active outdoor lifestyle – every single day!
Just a few of our favorite natural attractions and outdoor recreation destinations in Ocala include:
- The Ocala National Forest is the world’s largest scrub forest and southernmost forest in the continental U.S., with more than 430,000 acres of botanical diversity, incredibly varied wildlife, and over 600 lakes, rivers, and natural springs. Here, you’ll enjoy activities including swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, biking, hiking, fishing, kayaking, camping, horseback riding, and four-wheeling.
- Florida’s natural springs bubble up from underground aquifers at a refreshing 72-degree year-round temperature. These crystal clear waters are a natural wonder and offer amazing swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving opportunities – Some of our favorite springs in Ocala include Juniper Springs, Alexander Springs, and Silver Springs State Park.
- Hiking and biking trails, including the Santos Trailhead and Campground, a mecca for mountain biking, and the Baseline Trailhead Park, which includes bicycle trails, dog-friendly walking areas, and disc golf.
- Horseback riding among the rolling hills dotted with picturesque horse farms, as well as the World Equestrian Center, a world-class equestrian event center.
- Carney Island Recreation and Conservation Area on Lake Weir, where you can enjoy the day at a lakeside beach as well as boating, fishing, swimming, volleyball, picnicking, and more.
- Golf courses, including Baseline Golf Course, an 18-hole course located adjacent to Summercrest, our community of Ocala new homes.
2. Affordable Home Prices
Compared to both the national average and other popular Florida destinations like Miami, Sarasota, or Orlando, Ocala real estate prices are much more affordable, and it’s considered to have a balanced market, meaning the market is equitable for both home buyers and home sellers.
According to Zillow.com, the average price of homes in Ocala is about $273,000. This is well below the national average of $346,000, as well as the average value of homes in other popular Florida metros:
- Boca Raton - $537,000
- Miami - $553,000
- Orlando - $368,000
- Sarasota - $466,000
- Tampa – $391,000
Floridians are taking note of all Ocala has to offer, with Orlando, Miami, and Tampa all within the top 5 U.S. cities that people are relocating to Ocala from.
3. Affordable Cost of Living
Not only is housing affordable, but Ocala boasts an affordable cost of living compared to other Florida and U.S. cities. Like the rest of Florida, having no state income tax is hugely beneficial to residents, and that’s not the only thing that makes Ocala an affordable place to live!
According to BestPlaces.net, the cost of living in Ocala is 16% lower than the national average, 23% cheaper than living in Orlando, and 23.5% cheaper than living in Tampa. Home prices are the largest factor in this cost-of-living difference, though Ocala also ranks cheaper for groceries, transportation, healthcare, and miscellaneous expenses such as clothing, entertainment, and restaurants.
4. Growing Population and Economic Development
Ocala has experienced consistent population growth in recent years, fueled by a strong economy and attractive quality of life. Investing in a market with a growing population adds potential for appreciation. The median sales price of a home in Ocala is up 9.6% year-over-year, and home price appreciation is expected to continue in the coming months and years, meaning your home will continue to be a sound investment.
The region has witnessed significant economic development, with new businesses, job opportunities, and infrastructure projects emerging. According to a year-end update from the Ocala Metro Chamber & Economic Partnership, Marion County (home to Ocala) ranked No. 51 nationwide for talent attraction out of 600 cities. Major companies now calling Ocala home include FedEx and AutoZone, and industries such as logistics and manufacturing are seeing explosive growth. And with the addition of a new interchange off I-75 in Ocala, the growth is certain to continue in the area!
5. Retiree Paradise
Florida is known for attracting retirees from across the country thanks to its warm climate, abundance of golf courses, minimal taxes, and exceptional healthcare. That’s why it’s no surprise that Ocala is ranked as the #16 best place to retire in the U.S. according to a recent U.S. News & World Report ranking.
And it’s not just retirees that love Florida – everyone does! Ocala was also named one of the best places to live in Florida overall, coming in at #11 on this year’s list from U.S. News & World Report’s annual list.
6. Proximity to Major Cities and Amenities
Ocala feels like your tucked-away paradise, but it’s only a short drive from major metropolitan areas and Florida’s famed beaches. Whether you’re accessing an international airport or spending the day discovering cultural attractions and entertainment venues, here are some of the big cities near Ocala.
Gainesville is located 37 miles to the north of Ocala. Perhaps best known for being home to the University of Florida, UF’s campus is home to the Florida Museum of Natural History, loved by locals and visitors alike. Like the rest of Florida, outdoor activities abound here, with attractions including Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park, Ichetucknee Springs State Park, Sweetwater Wetlands Park, and the Carson Springs Wildlife Conservation Foundation.
And, you can’t visit Gainesville without spending time in the Instagram-worthy downtown! Home to everything from old-fashioned movie theaters and new shopping centers to local breweries and top-rated restaurants, there’s plenty to keep you entertained in Gainesville.
Located 75 miles southeast of Ocala, I’m sure you know what Orlando is popular for – theme parks! Home to some of the world’s top theme park resorts including Walt Disney World Resort, SeaWorld Orlando, and Universal Orlando Resort, spending the day in Orlando is anything but boring.
If theme parks aren’t your scene, don’t worry – there’s plenty more to do! Orlando is known as ‘The City Beautiful’ thanks to an abundance of parks and trees, both towering and flowering. Strolling downtown Orlando’s parks and lakes is a delight, from Lake Eola Park to the Harry P. Leu Gardens.
For cultural opportunities, Orlando is home to a multitude of museums, including the Orlando Science Center and the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. And Orlando is home to NBA basketball (the Orlando Magic), a professional ice hockey team (the Orlando Solar Bears), and arena football (the Orlando Predators).
Tampa is located 97 miles south of Ocala and is well-known for its nightlife, beautiful beaches and water activities, and attractions.
- Several of Florida’s best beaches are located in the area surrounding Tampa, making it the ideal destination for a weekend of fun in the sun.
- When you're ready to get out on the water, many cities on the Gulf Coast near Tampa offer opportunities for day cruises, from fishing charters to pirate boats. And, cruise ships sail out of the Port of Tampa to sunny destinations in the Caribbean and beyond.
- Wander around downtown along the Tampa Riverwalk while popping into local shops, stopping at delicious restaurants, or perusing art, from local installations to the world-class galleries at the Tampa Museum of Art.
- Some of Tampa's most popular attractions include Busch Gardens, Zoo Tampa, the Florida Aquarium, and the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI).
- Ybor City is the place to be with for fun after dark with its many bars and nightlife hot spots. During sunlight hours, it's equally enjoyable with delicious dining (Cuban sandwiches are a Ybor specialty) and annual events such as the Gasparilla Pirate Festival are sure to keep you entertained.
7. Ocala New Homes at Summercrest
With so many great reasons to invest in real estate in Ocala, let us introduce you to the final one - Summercrest, a gated community offering Ocala new homes surrounded by natural beauty in a peaceful southeast Ocala locale.
Here, you’ll appreciate the best of semi-rural surroundings while being less than one mile from US-301, one of Ocala’s main thoroughfares which takes you directly into the heart of downtown Ocala. You’re only a short drive from some of Ocala’s popular destinations such as the Santos Trailhead and Ocala National Forest, and just minutes from grocery stores, restaurants, and medical centers.
Homes at Summercrest sit on spacious ¼-acre and larger home sites, providing a large yard and privacy between neighbors. With open space, towering trees, wooded surroundings, and the rolling greenery of the adjacent Baseline Golf Course, you’ll find peace and relaxation with your home becoming your private sanctuary.
Priced from the $280’s, the new homes at Summercrest offer spacious layouts including 1,545 to 3,162 square feet of living space, 3 to 6 bedrooms, and up to 3.5 bathrooms, along with a two- or three-car garage and a front porch or covered lanai to enjoy outdoor living. More than ten different home plans are available so you can choose the layout that is perfect for your needs, with select homes including options such as a multi-gen layout with an in-law suite, flexible-use rooms, or a loft bonus room.
Now that you know some of the great reasons to invest in real estate in Ocala, our Ocala New Home Specialists can help you find the perfect home! Quick move-in homes are available at Summercrest, as well as the opportunity to build your personalized dream home from the ground up. Call or email us today to start planning your Ocala real estate investment!
Tags: Ocala Summercrest Single-family homes Gated community Ocala National Forest Florida's natural springs Multi-gen home
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