For the past couple of years, we have all been talking about the correlation between property taxes and individuals ability to afford homes along the Emerald Coast.  After a couple of years of heated debate, Amendment 1 was put to a vote this week.  The amendment passed overwhelmingly this week as most residents want their tax bills lowered. 

The Key Points of Amendment 1 Are:

  1. It doubles Florida’s Homestead Exemption to $50,000 for non-school taxes.  The previous exemption was $25,000
  2. It Provides Portability.  This means that homesteaders can transfer $500,000 worth of the non-taxed value they’ve accumulated over the years to their next home.
  3. It does not take away the Save Our Homes Cap of 3%.
  4. Businesses receive a $25,000 exemption from the intangible tax.

Opponents of the Amendment are concerned that vital services will need to be scaled back.

This is a good first step but more still needs to be done.  Our property taxes have nearly doubled in the last 5 years and this relief will only benefit the average property owner about $240 per year. 

Flying under the radar though has been insurance rates.  We continue to read daily about the high cost of insurance in our state but the reality is that rates have dropped dramatically in the last 18 months.  There are some categories of properties that are expensive to insure but justifiably so.  If you build a house in a low area or on the water, you should expect to pay higher rates. 

The insurance on my home is almost back to the levels of 2003.  That’s good news for me.

So what does this all mean?  Well the overall cost of property ownership is decreasing, although more slowly than we like. 

Insurance and taxes are relative in nature.  For those of us that live here, we complain, mainly because the increase was significant and occured over a relatively short time.  I had a client from Texas in town today.  They had a walk-through on a condominium that they had purchased.  They told me that the property taxes on their Texas home with a market value of $150,000 were higher than those on the new $300,000 condominium they had just purchased.

I’m glad I live along the Emerald Coast….At least we have beautiful beaches, great weather, great schools, great public services, and our taxes are less than Texas.

Posted by Tim Shepard - Broker on
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