If you’re searching for investment property, cross the state line into Florida and stop. A recent study by GOBankingRates.com, named three cities — Orlando, Tampa and Jacksonville —among the nation’s top 15 great places to invest in real estate.

Using rental properties to expand your portfolio is a smart move thanks to ongoing recovery from the mid-2000s recession. Home prices are rising. So is inventory as builders rebound from the downturn. Prospective tenants also are more confident taking financial risks such as moving for jobs, retirement or pursuing new careers.  The survey reviewed 61 of the 100 most populous U.S. cities. This list compiles the best and worst cities in which to own investment property. They used four factors: employment growth, population growth, increase in home values and the number of years required to pay off an investment property.  Read on to see what they discovered about these three Florida cities’ real-estate investment potential.

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This may not surprise you, but Orlando ranked No. 1 on the ist of top-15 U.S. cities in which to own investment property. Fueled by its status as one of the world’s premier vacation destinations, the City Beautiful boasts perennial population and employment growth. People want to live and work in an area teeming with services and transportation hubs.

The never-ending supply of leisure activities also ensures steady job opportunities, vacationers’ accommodation demands and the housing necessary to support it all.

It is estimated that investors will require only 12.4 years to pay off the purchase of an Orlando-area rental home using tenants’ rent as payment.

Tampa

Only 85 miles southwest of Orlando, Tampa ranked No. 2 on the list of top-15 U.S. cities in which to own investment property.

Tampa is booming. While tourism remains an economic engine, Tampa is a major port and home to companies such as Raymond James Financial and the Home Shopping Network. Tampa also attracts new residents with big-city amenities such as three professional sports teams, numerous museums and innumerable recreational resources.

It is estimated that investors will require only 9.6 years to pay off the purchase of a Tampa-area rental home using tenants’ rent as payment.

Jacksonville

Sited on Florida’s historic Northeast coast, Jacksonville is a diamond-in-the-rough for real-estate investors. Also a major port at the juncture of two critical interstate systems, it ranked No. 13 on the list of top-15 U.S. cities in which to own investment properties.

Strong employment statistics are fueling tremendous housing growth. This is especially true in Jacksonville’s expanding southern, southeast and southwest suburbs. Jobs and population growth are chicken-and-egg factors; you need both to charge ahead economically, and Jacksonville’s location, industries and recreational attractions are helping to do that.

It is estimated that investors will require only 10.13 years to pay off the purchase of a Jacksonville-area rental home using tenants’ rent as payment.

If you’re seeking real-estate investment in Florida, researching properties in Orlando, Tampa and Jacksonville is a smart choice. As Florida’s Custom Homebuilder, ICI Homes has communities in each of these areas. Click here to start your investment search.