Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Soaring Florida Real Estate Market Has Property Appraiser Jeff Hampton and Other PAs Reaching Out to County Property Owners

Photo: home with gold coins. Caption: Soaring Florida Real Estate Market, Property Appraisers Reaching Out
Photo: Nattanan Kanchanaprat via Pixabay | Columbia County Florida graphic

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – Hot real estate markets in Florida have Columbia County Property Appraiser Jeff Hampton and Florida Property Appraisers reaching out to the public with reminders and explanations as tax time approaches.

In Columbia County, Property Appraiser Jeff Hampton told your reporter, “We are breaking records with the number of sales and what things are actually selling for.”

Tampa Bay, with one of the strongest real estate markets in  Florida, had Hillsborough County Property Appraiser Bob Henriquez, Pinellas County Property Appraiser Mike Twitty, and Pasco County Property Appraiser Mike Wells reaching out to Tampa Bay in a joint statement. They strongly encouraged qualified homeowners to take advantage of Florida's homestead exemption that reduces taxable value by up to $50,000 and limits increases to a maximum of 3% annually.

Recently in touch with the Florida Department of Revenue, Columbia County’s Hampton said that according to the Department of Revenue, they are tracking about a 30% increase in value just this year alone.”

Mr. Hampton said, “The best way to reduce your tax burden is to file your exemption.”

Hillsborough County Property Appraiser Bob Henriquez said, “What worries me is that non-homesteaded properties could see a 10% increase in their annual tax bill. New home buyers will be hit pretty hard, and income property owners could pass those costs down to their renters in an already challenging marketplace."

The Tampa Bay Property Appraisers explained that county property appraisers have no role in setting the millage or tax rate. Values their offices establish are ultimately the multiplier for that rate. A capped value through homestead, also known as the "Save Our Homes" amendment, limits annual increases to the lesser of 3% or the consumer price index, which is currently at an all-time high. The cap resets to market value when the home is sold. Longtime homeowners benefit most from this protection.

Columbia County's Hampton told your reporter, "We (Columbia County) are around a 15% increase in property value over last year."

Pinellas County Property Appraiser Mike Twitty said, "Taxable value times millage (tax) rate equals a property owner’s tax bill. Therefore, since property appraisers are legally bound to follow the market, a rise in value will result in an increase in property taxes unless taxing authorities choose to reduce their respective millage rates. Reducing millage rates is the most direct way a taxing authority can provide some relief to its citizens (both owners and renters)."

Florida legislation mandates that County Property Appraiser offices assess the value of properties within their respective counties every year. While the appraised value is lower than the actual market value, a hot market like Tampa Bay’s and some North Florida rural counties increases in appraised values.

"We’re seeing unprecedented home prices and a level of demand that continues to outpace inventory, despite substantial new construction growth," said Pasco County Property Appraiser Mike Wells. "We want to ensure our residents take advantage of every qualified exemption they’re entitled to, and homestead can save you thousands in your first few years alone.”

Columbia County's Hampton said, "If you are homesteaded, you are capped this year at a 3% increase. Non-homestead is capped at a 10 percent increase.”

Property Appraiser Hampton said that in January, legislation goes into effect, which increases $500 exemptions to $5,000.

In mid-August, the Property Appraiser sends TRIM or Truth In Millage notices. This is the first notice you receive about your tax bill. It informs you of your proposed taxes. The TRIM notice contains the place and time where the various taxing authorities in your County will meet to set the tax rate. It is not a bill.

Mr. Hampton encouraged residents to visit their property appraiser’s websites:

Columbia County Property Appraiser: http://columbia.floridapa.com/

In this article:

Hillsborough County Property Appraiser: https://www.hcpafl.org

Pinellas County Property Appraiser: https://www.pcpao.org/

Pasco County Property Appraiser: https://pascopa.com/

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