Mike McCollum is a senior project manager with Freehold Communities, the developer of Shearwater.

St. Johns County continues homebuilding dominance

The growth can be seen in many of the large community projects in St. Johns, like Beachwalk, RiverTown and Shearwater.
Aug. 24, 2018

St. Johns County continues to be the most popular place in Northeast Florida for homebuilding.

According to monthly Northeast Florida Builders Association permit data, St. Johns is outpacing Clay, Duval and Nassau counties in home construction. In July, 420 single-family home permits were pulled in St. Johns, compared to 401 in Duval, 62 in Clay and 47 in Nassau.

St. Johns has been leading the other three counties monthly, with a few exceptions. In May, Duval edged St. Johns 376 to 365.

St. Johns has led the region since 2011, the report shows. This year through July, it again leads with 2,759 permits. Duval has 2,242; Clay, 534; and Nassau, 500.

Prior to 2011, Duval led the region.

NEFBA’s data is supported by a monthly report from the St. Johns County Building Services Division, which shows that the county is seeing tremendous growth year-over-year in single-family homebuilding as well as commercial construction.

The report says that St. Johns issued 4,330 permits in July compared to 3,308 in July 2017.

The growth can be seen in many of the large community projects in St. Johns, like Beachwalk, RiverTown and Shearwater, where houses are being started by the dozens every month.

In fact, the latter of the three communities is hosting a grand opening Saturday to celebrate the addition of Shearwater’s newest neighborhood, The Falls. 

Shearwater, which is being developed by Boston-based Freehold Communities, opened to homebuilders and sales about two years ago. The build-out for the community is 2,634 homes on 1,500 acres, with portions of that land being set aside for a county park, elementary school, preserves and walking-biking trails. As of mid-August, 310 homes have been sold.

The developer is building the large community in phases, with The Falls being part of the second phase. Freehold has encouraged its seven homebuilders to construct homes that promote healthy living and community engagement by including 8-foot porches where homeowners can sit outside.

A grand opening, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., will include free hot air balloon rides, a Frisbee dog show by Jacksonville-based Disc-Connected K9s, a farmer’s market, live music, a juggler and stilt walker, giveaways and more.

The community is off County Road 210 at 100 Kayak Way in St. Augustine. For more information, visit shearwaterliving.com.