11202525485?profile=RESIZE_584xBy Mary Hladky

Taxable values of Palm Beach County properties held strong this year, jumping 13.4% and coming close to matching last year’s 15.2% surge.

This marks the 12th year in a row that taxable values have increased in a steady rebound from the 2008 Great Recession.

“The overall increase in value is similar to what we saw last year,” said Palm Beach County Property Appraiser Dorothy Jacks. “This is driven by continued demand for properties of all types and near record new construction.”

All southeast county municipalities saw double-digit gains, with Lantana’s 17.1% increase leading the pack. That was closely followed by Manalapan’s 15.5% gain and Gulf Stream’s 15.2% rise.

“We were pleasantly surprised,” said Lantana Town Manager Brian Raducci. “We are excited about new development.”

He noted, though, that new development “places a burden on the demand for services as well.”

While the overall gains are impressive, six southeast county municipalities saw slight decreases from last year’s meteoric rises that similarly were due to a hot real estate market and a spike in new construction.

Last year’s southeast leader was Manalapan, which saw a whopping 28.2% jump.

Even so, Mayor Stewart Satter said town officials “are happy with the increase” of 15.5%. He predicted continuing taxable value growth.

“We think interest in Manalapan will increase and property values will increase going forward,” he said, noting the town is drawing residents relocating from Palm Beach and others moving to Florida.

“We have a number of new homes going up on the waterfront. I see that continuing. We don’t have enough inventory to satisfy the demand for new homes.”

Ocean Ridge’s 12.9% increase was down from last year’s 18.3%, but that didn’t concern Town Manager Lynne Ladner.

“I don’t see it as a significant dip,” she said. While new single- family homes have been added to the tax rolls, others remain under construction. Some were delayed by supply-chain issues.

When they are completed, Ladner expects her town’s taxable values will shoot up.

Boca Raton’s taxable values rose 11.9%, down from last year’s 14.5%. Delray Beach’s were up 13.2%, compared to last year’s 15.4%; Boynton Beach’s rose 12.6%, a decrease from 16.5%; and Highland Beach’s rose 13.2%, down from 13.8%.

Briny Breezes’ taxable values were up 14.6%, and South Palm Beach’s by 13.8%.

New construction added $4.3 billion to the county’s taxable values, almost equal to last year’s $4.4 billion rise.

While Boca Raton’s percentage increase was not eye-popping, the city’s taxable value is $34.6 billion, far more than any other city in the county.

New construction added to the tax roll was valued at $606.6 million, also far and away the largest amount in the county.

“Boca Raton residents can be happy about the strong rise yet again in home values,” said Mayor Scott Singer. “We lead the county in property values, increases and new investments, and they are further testaments to how attractive our Boca Raton is.”

The county’s median home sale price, which broke records last year, has cooled slightly as interest rate increases dampen some home buyers’ interest.

As of April, it was $585,000, or 2.7% less than $601,000 at the same time last year, according to the Broward, Palm Beaches and St. Lucie Realtors.

The figures Jacks released on May 26 are estimates that are based on market conditions as of Jan. 1, 2023. They will be revised at the end of June and submitted to the state Department of Revenue. Until then, the Property Appraiser’s Office will add more properties to the tax roll and make final calculations.

The taxable value results are great news for municipal leaders as they work to finalize their budgets for the new fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

Local governments use taxable values to calculate how much property tax money they can expect. They then set their annual budgets and tax rates.

An increase in taxable value means they will collect more money from property owners if they keep their tax rates the same as last year’s.

Unless municipalities lower their tax rates, homeowners will face higher property tax bills at a time when inflation and rising interest rates are straining family budgets.

To prevent a tax increase, elected officials would have to use the “rolled-back” rate, which state law requires them to calculate. That rate would generate the same amount of property tax revenue as in the previous year.

Homeowners, however, don’t feel the full brunt of rising property values because state law caps the taxable value increase to 3% for homesteaded properties. Non-homesteaded properties are capped at 10%.

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