Miami-Dade Taxable Values Rise For First Time Since 2007

Miami-Dade Property Appraiser Pedro J. Garcia


The taxable value of Miami-Dade real estate has risen for the first time since 2007 — another major sign that the long-beleaugered real estate market is finally stabilizing.

The countywide taxable value of all real estate rose 1.48 percent to $189.73 billion from $186.96 billion last year, according to an estimate released Thursday by Miami-Dade Property Appraiser Pedro J. Garcia.

The increase in property values in Miami-Dade was slightly above the 1.24 percent rise in taxable value in Broward County.

“Coastal municipalities with a concentration of high-end properties experienced the most growth in property values, while others had only negligible changes,’’ Garcia said in a statement. He added: “While it is premature to celebrate a complete recovery of the county’s real estate industry, there was a clear positive trend, especially in the last three months of 2011.’’

Ron Shuffield, president of Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell Realtors, one of the area’s largest brokerage firms, said “The numbers basically confirm what we already knew. Property values are coming back.’’

Lazaro Solis, Miami-Dade’s deputy property appraiser, agreed. “We believe the market is stabilizing,’’ he said in an interview. “Some areas are doing better than others. Some are going up, some are flat. Those that are still going down are generally doing so at a slower rate than past years.’’

It is too early to predict what will happen to property taxes as a result of the higher assessed values. That is because the various taxing authorities will not set their 2012-13 tax rates — the figures multiplied by the taxable value of real estate to determine taxes — until later in the year.

Solis said the taxable value for county property is expected to show an increase even excluding new construction, which was roughly the same as 2011’s modest level of $1.5 billion.

However, his office didn’t specify figures for new construction in the preliminary data released Thursday. “We will have that broken out on July 1. We wanted to make sure the numbers for new construction are accurate,’’ he said.

The stabilization in property values comes after a devastating shrinkage in county and local tax rolls in recent years that has left municipal governments reeling to make ends meet. For the current fiscal year, for example, Miami-Dade County resorted to layoffs and hefty concessions on employees to fill a massive budget gap.

The data posted for each municipality and for school districts and other taxing authorities show the taxable value of real estate as of Jan. 1, 2012 based on sales occurring over the prior year. Final numbers, due to be published July 1, will be used by municipalities and taxing authorities in setting their budgets and property-tax rates for the 2012-13 year.

In Broward, Cooper City showed the strongest increase of any city in the county, an 8.24 percent rise in taxable values, to $2.05 billion from $1.90 billion last year. The bump came largely from newly completed projects coming on to the tax roll, the Broward County Property Appraiser’s office said.

Fort Lauderdale was up 1.5 percent to $23.71 billion from $23.26 billion last year; but others fared poorly. North Lauderdale, for example, slide 3.41 percent to $919.7 million from 952.1 million and tiny West Park plunged 8.5 percent to $337.2 million from $368.5 million a year earlier.

In Miami-Dade, a city-by-city breakdown shows beach properties and the urban core generally are doing better than areas in the western and southern reaches of Miami-Dade. Affluent municipalities fared better than poorer ones. Taxable value in the well-heeled Village of Pinecrest, for instance, rose 2.52 percent, while falling 2.37 percent in Miami Gardens, a generally low-income municipality.

Miami Beach’s taxable value jumped 3.88 percent to $21.98 billion from $22.83 billion a year earlier. The City of Miami, where the Brickell and downtown condo market in particular have strengthened, showed a 1.83 percent increase in its taxable real estate value, to $30.35 billion from $30.90 billion last year.

The tiny municipality of Bal Harbour jumped 28.6 percent, driven by the addition of the St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort.

Homestead, which was one of the hardest hit areas in the real estate meltdown, continued to slide 3.71 percent in the latest assessment, but that is much better than prior years.

This year’s decline of 3.7 percent makes Homestead the second hardest-hit city in the county for two years in a row. Only Florida City faired worse, with a drop of 5.68 percent.

In total, Homestead’s property values have decreased about 53 percent in the past three years, said City Manager George Gretsas.

Still, he looked at the bright side: “The decrease looks to be leveling off,’’ he said.

The city has managed to steady its budget by relying on money-making funds, such as water and solid waste, for extra cash. Also, employees and police haven’t gotten raises in years.

The manager said it’s “way too early’’ to predict how the latest numbers will affect Homestead’s budget or tax rate, but promised to do everything possible to preserve services.

In Palmetto Bay, which saw a rise of 2.18 percent, Mayor Shelley Stanczyk heralded the increase as a sign of life. “The market is returning. Positive assessments coming to our homeowners is a great thing to see at the end of this long tunnel we’ve seen,’’ Stanczyk said.

The mayor said it’s premature to say whether the city’s budget plans will change as a result of the bump.

“It’s hard to say right now,’’ Stanczyk said.


Source:  Miami Herald