Florida Property Tax Relief Plan to go to the polls

Well, there’s good news and bad news.  Good news first.   We’ve got a property tax relief plan on the presidential primary ballot.  Bad news.  It is a much leaner version of the one we wanted.

The scoop.

The original plan (passed by the House):

  • Preserves Save Our Homes.
  • Allows “portability” of accumulated Save Our Homes (SOH) benefits.
    • Homeowners may transfer their SOH benefit to a new homestead anywhere in Florida within 2 years of leaving their former homestead
    • If “upsizing” to a home of equal or greater just value, the homestead owner can transfer 100% of the SOH benefit to the new homestead, up to a $1 million transferred benefit.
    • If “downsizing” to a home with a lower just value, the homestead owner can transfer a SOH benefit that that protects the same percentage of value as it did the former homestead, up to a $1 million benefit.
  • Provides a “Guaranteed Save Our Homes Benefit” for all homestead properties, so that all homestead owners can enjoy meaningful SOH savings without having to wait years to get them (does not apply to school tax levies).
    • All homeowners will own a SOH benefit that will accumulate on an annual basis and that can be carried with them from home to home (the “accumulated SOH benefit”).
    • If a homeowner has a small accumulated SOH benefit (like most recent homebuyers or new homestead buyers) they will receive a guaranteed exemption equal to 40% (or 100% for low-income seniors) of the county’s median just value for homesteads.
    • This is called the “Guaranteed SOH Benefit.” The Guaranteed SOH Benefit applies to home value above $50,000.
    • Along with using the county median home value approach, this will minimize the impact on small cities and counties. The homeowner will continue to build an accumulated SOH benefit. Once the accumulated SOH benefit is greater than the guaranteed benefit, the homeowner will receive the accumulated SOH benefit.
  • Provides a 5% assessment cap for all non-homestead and commercial properties in Florida to guarantee property tax predictability and protection for all property owners.
    • Non-commercial properties will be reassessed at change of ownership.
    • Non-homestead properties will be reassessed when the property undergoes a substantial modification or change of use.
  • Creates a new Tangible Personal Property Exemption of $25,000.
  • Provides for limitations on assessed values of properties used for affordable housing and working waterfronts (does not apply to school tax levies).
  • Instills accountability for all local property appraisers by requiring every appraiser to be elected.

The Senate passed their amended version of the property tax reform bill at the end of the day Monday, the day of the deadline to get it on the January ballot.  The official release as from Florida District 6 Representative Jimmy Patronis:

 Greetings,

As you know, providing meaningful property tax relief to Floridians has been one of my top priorities this year.

When the House started fighting for property tax relief over ten months ago, we realized this issue was one of the most important issues we would face.  We have worked hard to help make Florida affordable again for homeowners, families and small businesses.  We understand the need to provide tax relief and re-energize our economy in order to return Florida to its role as a national economic leader.

Last week the House passed a broad, bi-partisan consensus property tax relief plan 108-2.  The elements of the plan we passed were meaningful, balanced and returned some fairness and equity to Florida’s property tax system.

Sadly, the Senate rejected that plan, passed a plan with much less savings, and left us with no other option on the last day of the special session.  This plan was the most meaningful tax relief plan the Senate was willing to pass, and they made it clear to us it was their final offer, take it or leave it.

The reality of the legislative process requires agreement from both the House and the Senate.  The House has a long history of wanting to provide more meaningful tax relief. We have a record that demonstrates our continued commitment to providing greater relief.  The House is willing to do more if given the opportunity, but the Senate has not given us that option.

Sadly, if Floridians are to have a chance to vote for property tax relief in January, this plan is the only option.

Let me be clear, there are some positive elements for taxpayers in this package – things that Floridians have told us they wanted and the Governor campaigned on:

* Expanding the Homestead Exemption: Every homeowner will see a larger Homestead Exemption on their non-school taxes.  This will result in savings for every homestead property owner in the state.

* Full Portability: A universally agreed upon aspect of the plan.  Almost every Florida homeowner will now be able to carry their full current Save Our Homes savings with them to a new home.  Floridians will no longer be trapped in their homes and will be able to afford to move again.  This is a major step forward for Floridians.

* Cap on Assessments for Non-Homesteaded Properties: Just a week ago, the Senate was saying “NO” to any cap on non-homesteaded and business properties.  Florida property owners who have seen their property assessments double and triple in a single year will now benefit from a cap on at least some of their property assessments for non-education taxes.

The bottom line, however, is the Senate plan passed today does not go nearly far enough.  The people of Florida deserve more relief and we believe our partners in this process have missed a major opportunity to provide truly meaningful relief to all Floridians and to reinvigorate our state’s economy.

But this is not the end of the debate to reduce property taxes.

Our dedication to fighting for property tax relief continues.  We will not lose sight of the fact that these tax cuts are a small step toward getting Florida’s economy back on track.  It’s the people’s money, and we will keep fighting to let them keep more of it.

I encourage you to stay engaged on this issue and to continue communicating with your elected officials on the issues important to you.

Towne of Seahaven prepares for Origin Rental Marketing

Intrawest is heading up the hospitality management side of the Towne of Seahaven. With a portfolio that includes Sandestin and Baytowne Wharf, The Village of Tremblant, The Village at Copper Mountain, and more, they have a pretty good track record for success. Marketing plans include:

  • A hospitality-specific website that will cater exclusively to the rental aspect of The Towne of Seahaven. It will first be Origin-specific and will grow as other rental properties come online.
  • 45% of the entire marketing budget (for the next six months it is over $200k) will go to digital-based marketing efforts to include extensive SEO (search engine marketing) and PPC (pay per click) marketing driving traffic to the new site.
  • They will utilize the existing world-wide Intrawest database for a strategic, targeted email and print-mail campaign advertising vacation deals/opportunities at The Towne of Seahaven.
  • They are planning to hire an outside sales manager to promote business to business rentals, events accomodations, etc.

The Intrawest rental management team at the Towne of Seahaven has just accepted the bid for the website design. I am in the real estate sales and marketing business and we typically estimate around 60 days from beginning to end on a new website design but I was not given any deployment projections in my meeting with their marketing department.

House passes $11 billion property tax relief plan

This week The House passed an $11 billion property tax relief plan that will “preserve Save Our Homes, ensure portability of accumulated Save Our Homes benefits, it will cap year-to-year increases on non-homestead and commercial properties, and provide all homestead property owners a Guaranteed Save Our Homes benefit.” Full release as from Florida House District 6, Representative Jimmy Patronis:

HOUSE PASSES $11 BILLION PROPERTY TAX RELIEF PLAN WITH STRONG BI-PARTISAN SUPPORT

TALLAHASSEE – A bi-partisan coalition of Republican and Democratic lawmakers in the Florida House overwhelmingly supported an improved property tax reform plan today expected to provide over $11 billion dollars in property tax relief during the next four years. The measure (CS/SJR 2D) passed by a 108 to 2 vote.

The plan preserves Save Our Homes, ensures portability of accumulated Save Our Homes benefits, caps year-to-year increases on non-homestead and commercial properties, and provides all homestead property owners a Guaranteed Save Our Homes benefit. If approved by the Senate, the measure will once again give Floridians the opportunity to vote for meaningful property tax reform on January 29, 2008.

“The plan we passed today accomplishes is a strong step forward for property tax relief,” said Chairman Dean Cannon (R-Winter Park), the lead property tax negotiator in the Florida House. “It provides meaningful relief to Floridians suffering under the weight of oppressive taxes, it reforms a broken property tax system that is riddled with inequities, and it creates new protections for all property owners from unchecked property tax hikes in the future.”

“The revised approach passed today addresses the concerns we heard last week from Senators and Representatives of both parties,” said Majority Leader Adam Hasner (R-Delray Beach). “It’s a bi-partisan approach that is a significant improvement over the original plan – it delivers the same amount of relief but in a more efficient manner.”

The measure passed today:

  • Preserves Save Our Homes.
  • Allows “portability” of accumulated Save Our Homes (SOH) benefits.
    • Homeowners may transfer their SOH benefit to a new homestead anywhere in Florida within 2 years of leaving their former homestead
    • If “upsizing” to a home of equal or greater just value, the homestead owner can transfer 100% of the SOH benefit to the new homestead, up to a $1 million transferred benefit.
    • If “downsizing” to a home with a lower just value, the homestead owner can transfer a SOH benefit that that protects the same percentage of value as it did the former homestead, up to a $1 million benefit.
  • Provides a “Guaranteed Save Our Homes Benefit” for all homestead properties, so that all homestead owners can enjoy meaningful SOH savings without having to wait years to get them (does not apply to school tax levies).
    • All homeowners will own a SOH benefit that will accumulate on an annual basis and that can be carried with them from home to home (the “accumulated SOH benefit”).
    • If a homeowner has a small accumulated SOH benefit (like most recent homebuyers or new homestead buyers) they will receive a guaranteed exemption equal to 40% (or 100% for low-income seniors) of the county’s median just value for homesteads.
    • This is called the “Guaranteed SOH Benefit.” The Guaranteed SOH Benefit applies to home value above $50,000.
    • Along with using the county median home value approach, this will minimize the impact on small cities and counties. The homeowner will continue to build an accumulated SOH benefit. Once the accumulated SOH benefit is greater than the guaranteed benefit, the homeowner will receive the accumulated SOH benefit.
  • Provides a 5% assessment cap for all non-homestead and commercial properties in Florida to guarantee property tax predictability and protection for all property owners.
    • Non-commercial properties will be reassessed at change of ownership.
    • Non-homestead properties will be reassessed when the property undergoes a substantial modification or change of use.
  • Creates a new Tangible Personal Property Exemption of $25,000.
  • Provides for limitations on assessed values of properties used for affordable housing and working waterfronts (does not apply to school tax levies).
  • Instills accountability for all local property appraisers by requiring every appraiser to be elected.

The deadline for getting the proposal on January 29th primary ballot is Tuesday, 10/30/2007 with the Senate to meet on the topic on Monday.

Panama City, Florida Real Estate Market Continues to Show Improvement

I couldn’t find the article on the FAR website, so I don’t know if it was reported by The Goulding Agency, but I’ll give them a plug here anyway.   I got an email, and this is what it said:

Panama City, Florida Real Estate Market Continues to Show Improvement  

Florida Association of Realtors® (FAR) releases monthly home/condo resales data

Panama City, Florida, October 24, 2007

The Florida Association of REALTORS® (FAR) today releases home and condo resales numbers for September, 2007 and Panama City places best in the state for overall percentage of change in sales of existing single family homes, while second best in the state for overall percentage of change in sales of existing condos.

The median price for detached, existing single-family homes in Panama City is down by 9 percent compared to September 2006, about average for the entire state, while the median price for existing condos is down 5 percent, once again closely following the state average.

According to the data, Panama City places second only to Ft. Walton Beach in percentage of change for existing condominium sales in Florida.  A 19 percent increase in condo resales in Panama City over September 2006  measures up favorably against an overall statewide decrease of 37 percent, due in part to a 5 percent correction in Panama City condominium prices, providing incentive to buyers.

Bay County Association of REALTORS® president Scott Bowman points to public awareness campaigns, educating home buyers that now is the best time to invest in real estate, and executed in Panama City, Sarasota and Pensacola, areas showing some of the most positive sales data in the state. 

The Panama City/Bay County area continues to see aggressive retail and commercial development, indicating a high degree of optimism for long-term sustainable growth from investors.  CNN and other news sources observe that Panama City will possibly see as much as a seventy two percent increase in home prices over the next five years, with as large as a twelve percent growth in population and as much as a thirty percent rise in per capita income.

For additional information on the Bay County Association of REALTORS® or ‘Gotta Buy Panama City’ contact The Goulding Agency at 850-625-6888 or the Bay County Association of REALTORS® (Scott Bowman, President) at 850-319-0509.  Further information can also be found at www.GottaBuyPanamaCity.com.

Panama City Airport Ground Breaking Ceremony

First I’d like to apologize. There has been tons of stuff in the news this week that I’m sure many have been expecting to see on here, but needless to say, it has been quite a crazy week.

As I’m sure you figured from the title, the official ceremonial groundbreaking for the new Panama City Bay County International Airport was announced this morning to take place on November 1st. I received my invitation this morning and hope to take video and pictures. I heard that Governor Crist will be the keynote speaker for this event. The event will take place near the new airport site on 388.

Click here for all the archived information on the Panama City Airport Relocation.

Also:

Date Set for Groundbreaking Ceremony!

Governor Crist to Attend Groundbreaking

Real Estate Market Bounce Back

When are we going to hit bottom, and how will we know when we get there?  Nobody knows, and we won’t.  There are many indicators that we are close or that we are there, but still many agree that we have some way to go.  Some speculators say that we still have a huge foreclosure swing to get through and that it may take 12 to 24 months to get through it. 

One of my favorite magazines, Business 2.0 (stinks it got canceled) featured an article on how to take advantage of the current market conditions in its last issue.  Titled “How to Play the Real Estate Bounce-Back”, it discusses 10 US cities that are poised for an immediate bounce-back.  Amongst the 10 are bid cities such as Dallas-Ft. Worth, New Orleans, Atlanta, Montgomery, Austin and Houston.  The article talks about “bounce-backs”, but I would argue that non of these big cities really experienced the frenzy that many of us were quite familiar with over the last couple of years.  Each city has an average growth rate over the next two years of 5.5% with Dallas having the greatest rate and St. Louis having the lowest rate. 

The article can be found here.