Property Taxes and Home Affordability in Florida.

To New Homebuyers. Good luck. You are paying the highest prices. You are paying the highest property taxes. Your expectations of a quick valuation of your new home will have to wait for better times. Meanwhile, just clench your teeth, take the hit and hold on. To Renters. You are already experiencing a strong pressure on rent and it will persist for some time. Your “American dream of homeownership” is being crushed and is almost unattainable now, but what you are paying in rent is almost a bargain. But expect progressive and unavoidable raises. To Local Governments: You have been running wild with our dollars. You are fat and rich but you won’t give up, you keep wasting our money and you keep increasing our taxes, and today you are the only beneficiary of the real estate mayhem that is threatening our state. What about some legislature-mandated spending limits?Correcting the problem:

Whoever is now a beneficiary of the “save our homes” taxation shouldn’t accept any intent to take away this privilege. After all, 3% cumulative annual increase (as allowed by the “save our homes” rules) is more than fair. Cost of living has not on average increased more than this percentage during the last 10 or 15 years. So, why accept to be taxed on hypothetical sales value of your home by greedy local government? After all, they have not increased their services in any way to justify three and four times larger tax bills, and their expenses should have increased at the same rate as the national inflation rate. Unless they have chosen to mask their inefficiency at taxpayers’ expense. To the contrary, we can even argue that the mushrooming new constructions have already increased their tax base in such way that a reduction of their tax rates could have been considered. Legislators should better consider new regulation to transfer these “save our homes” advantages, when switching properties of the same of lesser values. This would surely reactivate the real estate market.

On the other hand, assessment of present property taxes, should be the object of a serious analysis in order to place them back at their historical levels, as a reasonable proportion of median family incomes, as opposed to the present almost confiscatory levels. I am talking about reduction of tax bills. The present real estate recession is not due to circumstantial or accidental factors. There are deep economical reasons which can and should be corrected. Affordability of homes is part of our government’s responsibility and should be addressed accordingly. Unfair and abusive property taxes are one known issue and voters should put pressure on their representatives to correct it. We are not talking about a tax revolt. It is a fact, though, that local governments have done nothing to help the first time home buyer, confronted with disproportionate real estate price increases. To the contrary, they have aggravated the problem by closing their eyes on the tax property issue, which enriches their coffers at the expense of a battered middle class. Disclaimer: This article represents the personal opinions of the writer and are not related to any firm, association or business with which this writer maintains any kind of relationship.