TAMPA — After a five-year free fall, home and property values in Hillsborough County are back on their way up.
Property values for tax bills in the county this year are expected to grow by about 3 percent, county officials said Wednesday.
That's a potential blessing for local governments, which depend on property taxes to survive but have been savaged by the housing crash.
The increase in values seen in 2012 is also a promising sign that the crippled housing market has begun recovering after years of tanking home prices.
"I think this confirms the economy is indeed rebounding," Hillsborough County Property Appraiser Bob Henriquez said. "This is good news for owners who have suffered through a number of years of declining property values."
For a typical homestead, the difference could be thousands of dollars in taxable value.
Yes, homeowners, that value bump means your property taxes could go up — but not by as much as they could. The state's Save Our Homes tax break limits this year's increase for permanent homes to 1.7 percent, meaning value added over that bar won't be added to your taxable value.
Owners of Hillsborough's 318,000 homes and 22,000 commercial properties will see estimates of their values on their Truth in Millage notices, which officials said would be sent within six months.
Hillsborough property tax rates, called millage rates, have yet to be approved this year.
The housing crash savaged many public budgets, which lost hundreds of employees after property values plummeted in 2009 by nearly 13 percent. Last year's TRIM notices showed values had sagged an average of 2 percent.
This year's estimated increase is a small bump considering the great shifts of the boom. In 2006, at the height of the real estate bubble, county property values climbed a staggering 21 percent.
The value bump is only an estimate based on last year's sales, but officials said they're confident they'll see a positive change from five years of red ink.
Across the bay, Property Appraiser Pam Dubov said Pinellas County is looking at a similar property value bump.
Nearly 14,000 homes sold across Hillsborough last year, Multiple Listing Service data show. The typical home sold for $148,000, 13 percent higher than 2011's median price.
Contact Drew Harwell at (727) 893-8252 or email@example.com.