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Marion County Growth Trends: Why Are People Moving to Ocala?

May 31, 2022

Marion County Growth Trends: Why Are People Moving to Ocala?

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise in remote work popularity, more people than ever are moving to Florida — Ocala, in particular, is one place people are flocking to, and with good reason. 

At The Mortgage Firm Gainesville, we keep a pulse on the market growth trends and housing stats you need to know as a potential homebuyer. Read on to get our take on why so many people are moving to Ocala.  

Benefits of Living in Ocala, Florida 

Central Florida, and Ocala especially, offers countless natural wonders to explore, such as the Ocala National Forest and Silver Springs Stated Park. 

  • Business Friendly

Ocala is a great place to own a business. In fact, a study by AdvisorSmith recently ranked Ocala first in the US for the greatest number of small businesses in mid-sized cities, beating out places like Boulder, Colorado, and Waco, Texas. Ocala provides a skilled workforce, notable manufacturing facilities, and first-rate transportation infrastructure. 

  • A Thriving City With a Small Town Feel

Ocala offers access to everything you could need to raise a family, own a business, or retire. The abundance of career opportunities, restaurants, retail spaces, schools, churches, and activities like festivals and concerts allow for community connections to be made. 

  • “The Horse Capital”

Despite its medium size and location in Florida, Ocala has become known as the Horse Capital of the World due to its impressive number of prestigious horse breeding facilities. Marion County has over 600 Thoroughbred farms where these horses are raised and trained and is one of only 4 Thoroughbred centers globally. To date, Ocala’s local horse farms have yielded 6 Kentucky Derby winners, 20 Breeders’ Cup champions, and 45 national champions.

This reputation has only been enhanced by the newly built World Equestrian Center with outdoor arenas, riding trails, indoor bars and restaurants, and climate-controlled barns, to name just a few features. 

  • An Outdoor Recreation Mecca 

Ocala offers more than just horseback riding. Hiking is another fun activity in which Ocala residents and visitors can hunt, bird watch, or go off-road riding, and participate in water sports such as kayaking, canoeing, fishing, and boating are popular in the Ocklawaha River or Lake Weir. And the Ocala National Forest boasts more than 600 bodies of water to choose from. 

  • Centrally Located

Ocala is directly in the state’s geographic center, making it a perfect location for visiting most of Florida’s bigger cities and tourist attractions. Consider the following popular destinations.

  • Daytona is 1.5 hours away and offers the beach and NASCAR.
  • St. Augustine is slightly further and offers the beach, historic sites, and family-friendly activities. 
  • Gainesville is about 45 minutes north and boasts the University of Florida, the Florida Museum of Natural History, the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, and the Harn Museum of Art. 
  • Jacksonville is under 2 hours and offers the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, countless restaurants and shopping stores, and the Jacksonville Jaguar NFL team. 
  • Orlando is around an hour south and is the theme park capital of the world, with Disney World, Universal Studios Resort, and Sea World, to name just a few. 
  • Affordable

As with many places, Ocala home prices have gone up in the last few years. However, Ocala remains one of the most affordable Florida housing markets, with homeowners owing no income tax and very low property tax. And Ocala’s larger landmass means that home buyers can often snag a sizeable piece of land along with their home. 

Are You Ready to Buy a Home in Ocala?

If Ocala sounds like somewhere you would like to place down roots for yourself or your family, contact us at The Mortgage Firm Gainesville. We are here to walk you through the ins and outs of your home buying journey, making the process as straightforward and enjoyable as possible, no matter where you choose to buy.