Florida Homeowners May See Property Values, and Taxes, Rise in a Market Decline
Pam Dubov, Pinellas County Property Appraiser, at the Rotary Club of Clearwater.
Pam Dubov, Pinellas County Property Appraiser, opened the eyes of Clearwater Rotarians to the realities of property appraisals at a recent Wednesday noon meeting of the Rotary Club of Clearwater at the Belleair Country Club. In his introduction, Rotarian Bob Clark stated that Dubov has a law degree from Stetson University and has a designation of Certified Assessment Evaluator (CAE) from the International Association of Assessing Officers. This is the highest-level designation for professional property appraisers.
Dubov said that in this economic downtrend, market values of real estate dropped 35-40% since June of 2006. For homeowners, the Save Our Homes Cap has, in past years, held tax increases to a limit of 3%. When assessments on commercial or rental properties decreased, many homeowners who have the Save Our Homes Cap still saw an increase in their property value, and an increase in taxes. This occurred because, due to the past caps, their homes were still being assessed below market value. A community with a high percentage of commercial properties, such as Pinellas County and Clearwater, will have a different drop in market value, than will a community consisting of mostly home owned residents. Commercial property declined after the residential losses and will probably recover slower than residential.
Belleair is mostly homesteaded, and owners have seen their Save Our Homes capped home values and taxes rising even though the market has declined. Clearwater has experienced a drop in both residential and commercial values and may experience a slower recovery.
Some states do not revise property values every year, but Florida does. This provides Floridians with a more accurate current appraisal of a properties value. Dubov stated that if a property owner has questions about their property assessment, they should talk with the Property Appraiser's office. If it is commercial property, bring along proof of income generated by the property, or any factual information on property value that may help in your claim.
Sales of foreclosure properties have contributed greatly to depressing the prices of residential property. This is placing a burden upon community and county budgets. 3,500 foreclosures were registered in 2006, while in 2008 and 2009 foreclosures rose to 13,000 and 14,000 respectively. Many of these, if not most, were due to assuming too much debt, in relation to available income, and paying too much for overvalued property. Compared to 1988, Pinellas County has 55,000 more parcels of property to evaluate, but the Appraisers office has 17 less employees.
Pam Dubov has been Pinellas County Appraiser for a little over a year, and she feels that the Appraiser's office is run by very capable and efficient employees. Dubov indicated that in some respects, Pinellas County has less real estate problems than do Hillsborough or Pasco counties. Pinellas does have many empty high rises, but not huge empty subdivisions.
Ms. Dubov finished by saying that we all need to have faith that full recovery will eventually come out of this slow economy. Future generations will benefit if they learn to avoid debt, avoid overpriced properties, avoid contracting to pay more than they can sensibly afford.
Return to Current Edition