Your taxes likely will go up as South Florida’s property values keep rising

South Florida Sun Sentinel

Jun 01, 2021 5:18 PM

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You’ll likely pay a higher tax bill this year as home property values keep soaring in South Florida during the pandemic.

Properties have increased an average of about 5% in taxable value in Broward and Palm Beach counties, according to newly released estimates from the counties’ property appraisers, based on sales from Jan. 2, 2020, through Jan. 1 this year. They rose by more than 3% in Miami-Dade.

“Our residential real estate market is incredibly hot,” said Marty Kiar, Broward’s property appraiser. “People are coming from all over the country to South Florida and making this their new home. People are coming from states where you have an income tax who are now making Florida their home. That’s driving the values.”

Cities use these property value estimates to decide your property tax rate, a process that begins this summer. The rates determine how much money local governments collect in taxes, which pay for everything from police to street repaving projects to running City Hall.

More Florida transplants are paying cash for properties, there are more bidding wars, and people are buying properties sight unseen, Kiar said.

“We have a lot of people from New York, from the northeast states,” Kiar said. “Every day I talk to people in the office and I say, ‘Why are you moving here?’ And they say, ‘New York is so expensive. And now I can work remotely.’ It’s every day, the same conversation that comes up and it’s amazing to me.”

Despite the pending hikes, homesteaded property owners won’t have to worry too much: Their assessed property value is capped and cannot increase more than 1.4%.

Broward’s increase of about 5% of taxable value means that even if the county keeps its tax rate exactly the same, it will reel in an extra $58.2 million in taxes because of additional money property owners must pay. Every city saw an increase in value, which means they, too, will bring in more money without needing to raise the tax rate.

Construction at Valencia Sound in Boynton Beach on Monday, May 24, 2021.

Construction at Valencia Sound in Boynton Beach on Monday, May 24, 2021. (Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

West Park had the highest home value increase at 9%. “It’s just a really nice place to raise a family,” Kiar said. “It’s more affordable for younger families.”

Lauderdale Lakes had the largest increase of all the cities for new construction at 11.45% because of a new $41.6 million apartment complex along Northwest 30th Place.

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Some places saw an explosion of both new construction and the sale of existing homes; Fort Lauderdale had a 7% increase with $1.13 billion of new construction added.

Three factors go into determining the values: What homes are selling for, new construction and in the case of commercial offices and malls, how much income they brought in, according to Kiar.

Palm Beach County’s taxable property values also increased 5% from 2020 to 2021.

“These estimates reflect the impacts of COVID-19,” said Palm Beach County Property Appraiser Dorothy Jacks in a statement. “Despite major disruptions in the real estate market in early 2020, the latter half of the year saw a strong rebound, especially in the residential sector.”

In Miami-Dade County, taxable values rose 3.6% when compared to 2020.

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