Dade Appraiser Tax Values Will Fall Again After Significant Drop This Year
By Risa Polansky
Without new construction, the most severe drop in local property tax values in 40 years would have been worse, raising concerns for next year as prices continue falling while construction is almost stagnant.
What could have been a 12.1% plunge in countywide values this year hit only 9.2%, buoyed by more than $7.2 billion in new construction, according to tax roll estimates released Monday.
"The only thing that saved us a little bit is that we have new construction that was not on the records yet," Miami-Dade Property Appraiser Pedro J. Garcia said.
Last year’s $245.5 billion countywide tax roll has shrunk to about $223 billion — what would have been $215.7 billion without new construction.
In downtown Miami, new buildings made for a 7.4% increase in taxable value, what would have been a nearly 20% decline without them.
"That’s something that worries me for what’s going to happen next year," Mr. Garcia said.
The appraiser uses Jan. 1 as the basis for assessments.
But now, halfway through 2009, prices in Miami-Dade are still falling — and building has nearly ground to a halt.
It’s unlikely the result will be a percentage drop larger than this year’s 9.2%, but Mr. Garcia predicts the tax roll will shrink again.
"I don’t believe there’s going to be a bigger drop than we have this year," he said, "But definitely what we see in the market is price is still declining, and without the new construction, definitely the tax value is going to be down from what it is this year."
This year’s decline is more than three times the only other drop Miami-Dade has seen in 24 years: 2.9% in 1993 after Hurricane Andrew, County Manager George Burgess wrote in a memo Monday.
He acknowledged also that this year’s "losses would have been worse if not for new construction that was added to the property tax roll as of January 1, 2009."