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County's property values down 8.5 percent

The complete estimates are in, and the Pinellas County Property Appraiser's Office says property values countywide fell 8.5 percent from last year to this.

The dramatic plunge marks the first time since 1992 that values dropped, and that year it was a dip of just 0.6 percent.

An imploded real estate market and Amendment 1 are to blame, officials say.

The figures hew closely to preliminary and partial estimates the Times reported in April, though some beach towns now show larger drops in value because condo appraisals are complete.

For local governments, the drop means the same tax rate will bring in less money. Because the changes vary from city to city and even street to street, individual taxpayers will see different effects.

Approved by voters in January, Amendment 1 did three things that cut billions of dollars in value from Pinellas tax rolls. It:

• Created an additional homestead exemption of $25,000 for local but not school taxes. That had the largest effect.

• Made some benefits of the Save Our Homes cap portable.

• Struck many tangible personal property accounts from tax rolls.

Even so, homeowners should remember that, despite the declining real estate market, those who have enjoyed the Save Our Homes cap for several years may still see their taxable values rise.

That's because the Save Our Homes cap allows a 3 percent increase in tax assessments, even if a home's market value falls.

For example, consider a home with a market value of $300,000 and an assessed value of $200,000. If the market value of the home drops 5 percent, or $15,000, it then becomes worth $285,000.

But the Save Our Homes cap allows taxing authorities to increase taxes until they reach market value. So the assessed value can increase by 3 percent, or $6,000, to $206,000. And that's what you're going to pay taxes on.

Property owners will get a better sense of how the changes in the market have affected particular tax bills after Aug. 18, when Truth in Millage notices are mailed out.

Drop in property values, 2007 to 2008

Area April estimate Completed value*

Countywide 8 percent 8.5 percent

Belleair 4.8 percent 6.6 percent

Belleair Beach 8.6 percent 9.3 percent

Belleair Bluffs 10.3 percent 10.7 percent

Belleair Shore 3.2 percent 2.5 percent

Clearwater 6.5 percent 7.8 percent

Indian Rocks Beach 7.8 percent 11 percent

Indian Shores 8.1 percent 13 percent

Largo 8.3 percent 8.6 percent

Pinellas Park 7.4 percent 7.8 percent

Seminole 8 percent 9.5 percent

St. Petersburg 5.6 percent 5.8 percent

* The current estimate is more complete than April's, which included incomplete data on commercial and condominium properties.

Where the declines and how much

Drop in property values, 2007 to 2008.

Area April estimateCompleted value*
Countywide8 percent 8.5 percent
Belleair4.8 percent6.6 percent
Belleair Beach8.6 percent9.3 percent
Belleair Bluffs10.3 percent10.7 percent
Belleair Shore3.2 percent2.5 percent
Clearwater6.5 percent7.8 percent
Indian Rocks Beach7.8 percent11 percent
Indian Shores8.1 percent13 percent
Largo8.3 percent8.6 percent
Pinellas Park 7.4 percent7.8 percent
Seminole8 percent 9.5 percent
St. Petersburg5.6 percent 5.8 percent

* The current estimate is more complete than April's, which included incomplete data on commercial and condominium properties.

County's property values down 8.5 percent 05/24/08 [Last modified: Monday, May 26, 2008 12:53pm]
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