By Tao Woolfe
The Palm Beach County property appraiser's staff is still crunching numbers, so the specific municipal increases in property taxes for 2015 are not yet available. But Property Appraiser Gary R. Nikolits, spoke about the general upwards trend in real estate transactions and tax revenues at a recent city manager's luncheon.
Overall, he said, there will be a 5-10% increase in taxable values throughout Palm Beach County. There is an expected 22.7% increase in new construction, rising from $1.54 billion to $1.89 billion. More new commercial construction projects are expected before June 1.
Residential real estate sales continue to increase but not as quickly as anticipated. In fact, there has been a drop in deed transfers for the first three months of the year, he said. Overall sales transactions countywide are expected to increase from about 78,000 to 80,000.
“There is still a lot of speculative buying by big interests in the residential market,” he said. “Single-family homes are being bought by investment groups. Income on the appreciation and rental income streams make this viable.”
He added that purchasing by individual homeowners will increase in 2015 because banks are freeing up restrictions on mortgages and the job situation is improving. This is tempered, however, by owners’ reluctance to sell until property values increase and the fact that many mortgages are still under water.