Property valuations jump on the islands | News, Sports, Jobs

Property valuations throughout Lee County exploded in 2021, with Cape Coral leading the way to the highest annual increases ever.

Matlacha and Pine Islands did not do too badly either.

Overall valuation within the Matlacha/Pine Island Fire Control District saw overall valuation increase an estimated 14.34 percent, a projected bump of $269,262,758.

Overall, estimated property valuation in Lee County surged 30.25 percent over last year. County property valuation went up from $133,025,841,029 to $173,272,037,000, an increase of more than $40.2 billion.

Total taxable valuation increased from approximately $96 billion to $111.3 billion, and increase of $15.3 billion, or 15.93 percent. The school taxable valuation numbers were higher with an increase of approximately $23.8 billion, or 22.72 percent.

Lee County Property Appraiser Matt Caldwell said to call the increase unprecedented would be an understatement as people have moved into the area faster than housing can be built or placed on the market for them.

“Unprecedented doesn’t even begin to describe it. Talking to Realtors and appraisers, we were expecting 20 to 40 percent based on what they’ve seen. For us to come in around 30 percent is to be expected,” Caldwell said. “Demand for housing in Southwest Florida far outstripped any supply.”

Caldwell released the initial estimates of 2022 property values Wednesday, with all but one taxing district (Fort Myers Shores) seeing at least double-digit growth.

Neighboring Cape Coral saw its estimated taxable valuation increase 38.90 percent, which far outpaced any other municipality or taxing district in the county. Total just property valuations increased from $26,899,990,692 to $37,363,329,000, an increase of $10,463,338,308.

In terms of taxable valuation, property valuations increased from $18,342,719,101 to $22,152,347,000, an increase of $3,809,627,899, a 20.77 percent increase.

New construction in Cape Coral tallied in at $1,010,532,315, according to the estimate, up from $620,499,525 in 2021. Of the estimated 2022 number, that taxable valuation is just shy of a billion at $999,316,537.

Last year, property valuation there increased 10.88 percent which, at the time, was the largest percentage jump since 2007, the year before housing-bust-caused Great Recession.

Sanibel’s total just valuation soared 32.39 percent with its taxable valuation increasing by 12.13 percent. The city of Fort Myers saw its total just valuation estimate increase by $24.68 percent and its taxable tally increase but 17.12 percent.

Fort Myers Beach 13.88 percent, Bayshore went up 19.12 percent, Lehigh Acres18.91% increased 14.34 percent and North Fort Myers was up 14.28 percent.

From a tax perspective, Homesteaded homeowners are protected from such sharp growth. Those who have the Save Our Homes homestead exemption have their property taxes capped at 3 percent, and those without it are capped at 10 percent, Caldwell said.

“Just values went up 30 percent, but the taxable value was up just 15 percent. Half of the market is protected from significant increases depending on how and where they own,” Caldwell said. “It’s a reminder that if you move to Florida make sure the first thing you do after you close is come see us and make sure you fill out the application for homestead exemption.”

The purpose of the value estimate is to give the taxing authorities an initial estimate for developing their budgets and property tax rates.

Caldwell’s office will continue to refine these estimates and will certify the official values before July 1. In the past that number has come up larger.

For taxing entities, increased taxable valuation means an increase in revenue at the current rate of taxation; the “rollback” millage rate keeps revenue flat.

The final figures of all taxing districts will be sent to Tallahassee for approval when finalized.

TRIM — Truth in Millage– notices will be mailed to property owners in August. Property owners will then have 25 days to resolve any disagreement in value with the property appraiser.

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