Brevard property values keep climbing
The Space Coast housing recovery looks like it’saccelerating.
The latest evidence: newly released data from Brevard County Property Appraiser Dana Blickley, showing an increase of more than 8 percent in the taxable value of property in the county, compared with year-earlier figures.
“I was pleasantly surprised by that number,” Blickley said. “I see what is appearing to be a normal, positively responding real estate market.”
This is the second straight year of property value gains, following five years in a row of declines after an overheated real estate market tumbled.
The current estimated taxable value of properties in Brevard is $27.9 billion. That’s up from the $24.6 billion low two years ago and up from $25.7 billion last year.But it remains far below the peak of $40.7 billion in 2007.
Blickley said the gains in the taxable value of properties in the last year were not consistent across the county. She said the Suntree/Viera area and the beaches have shown the strongest gains.
Also helping boost the increase was the addition to the tax rolls of about $1.1 billion in commercial and residential property in the last year. By far the biggest single addition was the new Florida Power & Light Co. power plant off U.S. 1 in Port St. John, which added more than $750 million to the tax rolls, Blickley said.
Mitch Riback, president of the Space Coast Association of Realtors, said the data from the property appraiser correspond with what he is seeing in the Brevard real estate market.
Riback, quickly noted however, that there are key differences between “appraised value” and “market value.”
The market value is simply what the majority of potential buyers looking at a home would be willing to pay for it.
The appraised value for taxing purposes is lower than the market value because it deducts such things as the cost of selling a home. Florida law also limits how much the appraised value of property can increase each year. Certain exemptions, such as the homestead exemption, lower the taxable value of properties below their appraised value.
Latest-available figures show that, in Brevard County, the median selling price for a home — the point at which half the homes sell for less, half for more — was$132,000 in March, according to Florida Realtors, an industry organization. That’s up more than 10 percent from the previous year’s median figure of $119,900.
Those differences between market and appraised value notwithstanding, Riback said the appraiser’s estimates are good news, particularly for such markets as Palm Bay.
“I used to tell some of my friends up north they could come to Palm Bay and get a nice deal on a house for $60,000 to $70,000,” Riback said of the market conditions two years ago. “Now, those properties are more like $120,000.”
At one point several years ago, Blickley said, as many as 80 percent of residential property transactions involved foreclosures or short sales. That figure now is down to about 30 percent.
Property owners who aren’t buying or selling will be affected as well. For many people, their home is their biggest asset, so, as the value of their home rises, so does their overall financial worth.
A higher taxable value doesn’t necessarily mean a higher tax bill next year. That also will depend on the tax rates set by local governments, such as the county, school board and cities.
Blickley said taxing authorities have several options:
• They can adopt the same property tax rate currently in effect. Under current conditions, that would, in many cases, raise a property owner’s tax bill because of rising property values, thus allowing the taxing body to collect more taxes to pay for services.
• They can roll back the tax rate to a point at which they would collect the same amount of property taxes, because of the rising property values.
• They can set the property tax rate somewhere in between, so the rate is lower, but property tax money collected is higher.
• They can raise the property tax rate above the current level, which will allow them to collect even more revenue, both from the higher tax rate and from rising property values. Because of political pressures to keep taxes in check, that scenario is unlikely.
Contact Berman at 321-242-3649 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ByDaveBerman
TAXABLE VALUE GAINS
There was an overall 8.24 percent gain in the estimated taxable value of property in Brevard County, as it relates to the county’s general fund, raising the estimated taxable value to $27.86 billion. The biggest increases were in unincorporated Brevard. But all 16 Brevard cities and towns also showed gains. Here are the figures for individual municipalities, their estimated 2014 taxable value, and percent gains from 2013 taxable value:
|MUNICIPALITY||2014 TAX VALUE||% CHANGE FROM 2013|
|CAPE CANAVERAL||$854.7 MILLION||5.92|
|Cocoa Beach||$1.38 billion||5.62|
|Indian Harbour Beach||$661.3 million||5.88|
|Melbourne Beach||$288.5 million||7.19|
|Melbourne Village||$35.3 million||1.02|
|Palm Bay||$2.64 billion||5.63|
|Palm Shores||$50.4 million||8.06|
|Satellite Beach||$651.2 million||6.23|
|West Melbourne||$968 million||7.45|
Source: Brevard County Property Appraiser Dana Blickley