By Mary Hladky
After years of steady growth, the taxable values of Palm Beach County properties have surged in a reflection of the white-hot real estate market and a spike in new construction.
All southeast county municipalities saw impressive gains, with Manalapan’s estimated 26.5% jump, Ocean Ridge’s 16.5% and Boynton Beach’s 15.1% outdistancing the rest.
Those three were also the only southeast coastal communities to outperform the countywide figures, which had taxable property values increasing by an estimated 13.6% from 2021 to 2022, up from 5.8% in the previous year.
Boca Raton’s taxable values rose 12.7%, up from the previous year’s 3.8%. Delray Beach’s went up 13.4%, an increase from 5.4%.
Briny Breezes’ rose by 13.4%, Gulf Stream’s by 12.3%, Highland Beach’s by 10.8%, Lantana’s by 13.4% and South Palm Beach’s by 8.7%.
In releasing the numbers on May 27, Palm Beach County Property Appraiser Dorothy Jacks pointed to new construction and the demand for real estate.
“Demand for properties of all types continues to grow,” she said. “Both commercial and residential markets have seen an increase in value and new construction.”
The rise in residential values is due to the influx of new Florida residents and limited supply of homes, while hotels, multi-family apartment complexes and warehousing all saw value increases, she said.
New construction countywide totaled $4.3 billion, up from the previous $3.2 billion.
Meanwhile, as demand for housing continues to exceed supply, home prices are through the roof.
The county’s median sale price hit a record $601,000 in April, up 29% from $466,000 in April 2021, according to Broward, Palm Beaches and St. Lucie Realtors.
“Properties are coming off the market almost as soon as they are listed,” Carlos A. Melendez, the organization’s president, wrote in an April report. “Our median time to contract is an astounding nine days.”
The property appraiser’s numbers are estimates that are based on market conditions as of Jan. 1, 2022.
They will be revised at the end of June, when they will be submitted to the state Department of Revenue. The numbers will change as the Property Appraiser’s Office adds more properties to the tax roll and makes final calculations, but the estimates give a good idea of how taxable values fared.
The results are good news for municipal leaders as they head into the time of year when they finalize their budgets for the new fiscal year.
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 values means they will collect more money from property owners if they keep their tax rates the same as the previous fiscal year.
Elected officials can increase the tax rate even though taxable values have risen, but they typically are loath to take that politically problematic step. They often opt to decrease the rate a small amount so they can say they have done so, even though property owners actually will see a tax increase.