In just the past 5 years, the county's population has expanded by close to 15% - far greater than both state and national averages.
Thousands of new residents are attracted each year by the market's healthy economy, excellent quality of life, diverse recreational activities, pristine environment, and the wide array of shopping opportunities.
Located in the north central part of the state, Marion County is a substantial market. Home to more than 260,000 people and nearly 110,000 households, Marion County is projected to grow by an additional 10% to 309,000 residents by 2010.
A Welcoming Atmosphere
Every year thousands of new residents begin calling Marion County home, keeping it among the three fastest growing areas in the nation. The county's welcoming atmosphere makes transitions easy. The variety and affordability of housing ensures that there are homes to suit every taste, lifestyle and budget.
Surrounded by scenic countryside, Ocala has the vitality and diversity of a much larger city. Named the county seat in 1845, it has a wonderful history, yet the ability to move ahead into the next century. Ocala's historic district is a neighborhood of charming tree-lined streets and exquisite Victorian and Tudor homes. Throughout the city and in nearby suburbs are newer developments of single-family homes, condos, townhouses and apartments.
For those who long for the country life, Marion County offers many possibilities from newly built country communities to weathered farm houses, horse farms, and grand estates. The region's highway system makes outlying areas convenient to Ocala's business and shopping districts. From Belleview in the south, to Dunnellon in the west, and McIntosh or Reddick in the north, homes of brick and frame abound, with new construction continuously expanding the selection for newcomers.
A growing trend in housing is toward attractively designed gated communities. These areas feature luxurious, yet surprisingly affordable custom-built homes. Communities such as Oak Run, On Top of the World, Ocala Palms, Lake Diamond, Spruce Creek, and in nearby Lady Lake, The Villages of Marion, and others offer every imaginable type of recreation, often with clubhouses, golf courses, pools, tennis courts, fitness centers, scenic walking trails, restaurants and a host of indoor activities and opportunities for social interaction.
Modern, affordably priced, single-family homes, condominimums, villas or patio homes are available. More apartment complexes are being built every day, offering rental opportunities with monthly rates running from $350 to $900 for luxurious multi-room units. Houses are priced from $60,000 for a starter home to rural estates and horse farms that begin in the neighborhood of $350,000. The average three-bedroom, two-bath residence is more likely to fall between $75,000 and $80,000.
Whether the choice is a home in town or in the country, residents are never far from schools, health care providers, churches, shopping and commercial centers, governmental services, cultural and recreation activities and above all, the beauty that nature has bestowed upon Marion County.
The scenic countryside, shady forests, and crystal-clear waterways are treasured and protected, but also willingly shared with visitors and newcomers who quickly realize that Marion County, with Ocala at its heart, is more than a place to live, it's a place to be experienced.