1. CON – Traffic – Getting progressively worse as people relocate to our area. They are planning and building all over for the expansion of our little town. The Lions Bridge goes up every 30 minutes and it fucking sucks. You got 50 cars waiting for 10+ minutes because one boat needs to get through. It is so bad that there are local bumper stickers that say “don’t make me cross the bridge”. Then you got tourist traffic too. So if you want to go downtown or to the beach and enjoy the place you live, work and sleep in…you are more than likely hitting some traffic along the way during peak tourist Season. September is a month that is meant for Locals and there are whole bunch of discounts available to them
2. PRO – Home Prices Comparatively to other cities
Comparing the Jacksonville Metro to any other Metro. Our area is a deal all day long. If you are looking for a 2500 sq ft house in St. Augustine you can expect to pay around $450k. Compare that with NYC, San Francisco, or Philadelphia/LA. We are cheaper by a long shot. Easily 150k cheaper. and in the case of NYC, we are 1.5 million dollars cheaper. If you compare a 2,500 sq ft home here comparatively to other Metros, our are is a deal all day long. You get more bang for your buck. $357,000 for that size home here in the North East Florida region. Compare that to DC, Washington and NY. On average you are going to save about 138k. There are also no state income taxes here so you take home more then you would in other places with a state income tax. Also if you choose to make FL your primary residence you could also qualify for the Homestead Exemption which will allow you to deduct up to 50k off your taxable value.
2. CON – Wildlife. Snakes, Bugs, Alligators, Lizards, Fruit Flies. Florida has all of these and more and the thought of them can be pretty terrifying. Why would someone want to live near these things? Most people have a screened in porch to battle the bugs and lizards. Most areas do a pretty good job of spraying for bugs. I live in a townhome with a stormwater reservoir. I have yet to see an alligator in there, but my neighbors said that there is one that uses the stormwater management system to get around. The largest Alligator I saw in the wild was 3′. My buddies dad actually caught it before a big storm and kept it in his bathtub. It later got loose and he found it in his walk in closet. My buddy is Florida man.
3. PRO – BEACHES
Access to the beach – 42 miles of Beachfront; 30 min drive from most areas in St. Augustine, different beaches for different uses. Surfing, Golfing, Tanning, Fishing. Our beaches are free to access unless you plan on driving on. They allow all vehicles to drive on but you may get stuck in a 2wd vehicle depending on the conditions. Dogs are allowed on the beach on a leash though most people let their chunkamonks run free.
3. CON – There is essentially no public parking available. If you are lucky enough to find one the beach is free; though you may be forced to pay for a spot, or pay to drive onto the beach. Several restaurants in the area will sell parking for $10 for the day.
The beach is also one of the main reasons people come to enjoy St. Augustine. So that means there are typically a good bit of tourists there. This depends on peak tourism times of course; though since co-vid we barely had a break from everyone coming to visit.
4. PRO – Weather
As I am typing this it is 63 and cloudy during December; This is actually our Noreaster Storm and is a shit day in Florida. Typically, even in the winter, it is Sunny and 75. Outside of the dog days of Summer (July-Sept); St. Augustines weather is actually very accommodating. Mostly Sunny year round with a temperature between 75-85 degrees. When it rains, it is typically for a small portion of the day. The saying is “if you do not like the weather, wait 20 minutes.” This is because it will be a torrential downpour of rain and then it will be sunny and the water will be dried up in an hour. Snowed 2 times in the past 100 years. When i was a kid I used to play in the storm water ditches and sometimes the water would freeze on top.
4. CON – Hurricanes and Humidity
This past year we had a very mild hurricane season. St. Augustine seems to get pretty lucky with the amount of hurricanes we have in the area. There were 21 named storms this year with 7 of them hurricanes and 4 of them with Category 3 winds or higher. When the hurricane is severe enough they will evacuate the Island and any potential flood risks. They do this based on risk which they grade by “Evacuation Zone”. The last time the Island was evacuated was during hurricane Matthew in 2016. This hurricane cause a significant amount of damage to residences and commercial property on the water. Just recently a portion of Summerhaven lost most of its dunes because of a local storm. The county is considering buying the homes back from people and letting mother nature reclaim its property.
The Humidity in Florida is something to note if you have never been in a climate like this. The air is thick and you can almost drink it. I used to go between NYC and FL a ton and the difference in breathing the air is huge. Everything feels wet and every morning expect some type of dew on the grass and your vehicle. Though you wont need an ice scraper any longer you may want to pick up a squeegee to clean up the morning dew.
5. PRO – Outdoor Activities – Fishing, Hiking, Horse Back Riding, Boating, Beach walks; people are outside most of the year and are able to because of our weather. Now we dont have Mountains or Ice Climbing; though we did just get a rock climbing gym (which I am stoked about). There is not much you cant do year round with our favorable weather. I used to ride motorcycle pretty frequently. Aside from the summer months, perfect weather to ride; not to hot not to cold with a riding jacket. There are days when you can go to the beach in the winter. Pick your poison, St. Augustine has it
5. CON – Growth of Area, Home Prices, Cost of Living
Ive done several videos on the growth of the area, home prices, and cost of living. Its changed drastically. When I was a kid I had a fort in the woods called the “Thunder Fort”. That is now a condo development. I used to go Mt. Biking on Mickler on St. Augustine Beach. Now it is Million dollar homes sitting on a 1/2 acre.
When I was a kid my mom paid $800/mo for a 2 bed apt on the beach. Now a 1bedroom rental is going to run you at least $1300/mo. On top of all this inflation is rising and wages are not moving at the same pace. People are moving from all over and driving up the real estate prices. For many that have lived here, buying seems more and more like a dream.