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Pinellas property values down 8.5 percent

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 values dropped since 1992, when the dip was 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.

"There is no segment of the market that declined more than condos have, particularly condos on the beach," chief deputy property appraiser Pam Dubov said last week.

Reductions in the value of condos most affect communities such as South Pasadena (down 14.3 percent overall), Indian Shores (down 13 percent), Madeira Beach (down 11.9 percent) and Redington Beach (down 11.8 percent).

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 impacts.

Approved by voters in January, Amendment 1 did three things that cut more than $5.6-billion in value from Pinellas tax rolls. The amendment:

• 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.

"That's exactly what people wanted," Dubov said. "They wanted a reduction in taxable value."

Even so, homeowners should remember that, despite the declining real estate market, those who have enjoyed the Save Our Homes cap for 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.

Despite the declining real estate market, those who have enjoyed the Save Our Homes cap for years may still see their taxable values rise.

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 even in a falling market, 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 effected particular tax bills after Aug. 18, when Truth in Millage notices are mailed out.

Times staff writer Richard Danielson contributed to this report.

Will Van Sant can be reached


or (727) 445-4166.

Worse than expected

Drop in property values, 2007 to 2008.

AreaApril estimate*Completed value
Countywide -8 percent-8.5 percent
Belleair-4.8 percent -6.6 percent
Clearwater -6.5 percent -7.8 percent
Dunedin -9.5 percent -10.4 percent
Largo -8.3 percent-8.6 percent
Oldsmar -4.7 percent-4.3 percent
Safety Harbor -9 percent-9.3 percent
Tarpon Springs -6.7 percent -6.8 percent

Other areas of interest:

Belleair Beach -8.6 percent-9.3 percent
Indian Rocks Beach -7.8 percent -11 percent
Indian Shores -8.1 percent -13 percent
Madeira Beach -10.2 percent -11.9 percent
Redington Beach -12.2 percent-11.8 percent
Redington Shores No change -3.3 percent
South Pasadena -11.5 percent -14.3 percent
St. Petersburg -5.6 percent -5.8 percent
Treasure Island -8.3 percent -10.4 percent

* April's estimate included incomplete data on commercial and condominium properties.

What to expect if you own:

A homesteaded home

Homeowners who bought at the height of the boom in 2005 are more likely to see a reduction in assessed value. Those who have been in their homes a long time and have an assessed value well below the market value (even a dropping market value) won't see a reduction in assessed value. They could even see an increase. It depends on: 1. How long you've had the homestead exemption 2. How long you've had the Save Our Homes tax cap 3. How much of your value the expanded homestead exemption created by Amendment 1 takes off the tax roll.

Commercial property

Generally, the value of commercial property did not drop as much as residential property values. With many apartment complexes converted to condos, the value of some remaining apartment complexes has risen. Commercial property owners on the beach, where speculation during the boom drove up values, are most likely to see a drop in assessed values. Commercial property owners inland are less likely to see a reduction.

A non-homesteaded condo

Expect to see a drop in value. This won't be true for every condo, but the market value of non-homesteaded condos is their taxable value, so when the market value drops, condo owners should see a difference.

Source: Pam Dubov, Pinellas County chief deputy property appraiser.

Pinellas property values down 8.5 percent 05/24/08 [Last modified: Monday, May 26, 2008 8:14am]
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