Archive for July, 2007

Florida housing on slow upswing. Bottom already passed one Economist says.

Friday, July 27th, 2007

Economist Hank Fishkind calls other economists’ dire warnings and negative news about the housing market overblown, and says that, outside of Miami’s condominium market, the state’s housing markets hit bottom months ago and are now on a slow return to normalcy.

Fishkind, speaking Tuesday on his radio talk show, pointed to recent stories released by respected economists. Last Friday, for example, Bloomberg news published a story with an ominous headline – “Miami condo glut pushes Florida’s economy to brink of recession.” It quoted Moody’s/’s Mark Zandi who predicted Miami condo price drops as much as 30 percent and a state recession perhaps by October.

“There is no doubt that the Miami condominium market is severely overbuilt, and that there will be sharp price drops and massive defaults,” says Fishkind. “But, this is no surprise to anyone who has followed this market.” But, he adds, “It is also important to note that Florida’s housing markets, outside of Miami’s condo market, have hit bottom months ago. The closing volume for new and for existing homes has stabilized.”

Fishkind doesn’t predict a huge upswing in closings, but “they are no longer declining. Therefore, we have already seen the worst for this cycle. There is no evidence of sharp price drops anywhere in the state, and there is no reason to expect any such drops outside of Miami condos. Population growth is holding up well as the state continues to attract large volumes of retirees and working families looking for jobs.”

Fishkind says that rising gas prices could impact consumer spending more than expected, but he calls that a nationwide problem, one that “Florida will ride out … better than most other places.”

Florida Property Tax Break Gathers Momentum

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

After looking like it was headed toward a January ballot as a political orphan, the Legislature’s big property-tax initiative is finally attracting a few sugar daddies.

The Florida Association of Realtors pledged to spend $1 million urging voters to endorse the measure to create a supersize homestead exemption of as much as $195,000 on a $500,000 house. Realtors say it will kick-start a stalled housing market.

Then, Associated Industries of Florida President Barney Bishop said he would ask his board of directors to spend some cash on a campaign for the proposed constitutional amendment, even though he acknowledged it provides little tax relief to businesses.

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Florida cities and counties raising fees to offset property tax reductions

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

Cities and counties across Florida are tightening their belts as they face a state-ordered cut in property-tax collections ranging as high as 9 percent this year.

But local governments are finding other ways to tap into residents’ wallets.

Scores are slapping higher fees on everything from water, sewer and fire protection to burial plots, overdue library books, admission to parks and pools and garbage pickup.

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Martin County homeowners to get property tax break

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

The average Martin County homeowner will see a $154 break on the county portion of their property tax bills as the county unanimously approved its $394 million budget for the year beginning Oct. 1.

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State Panel Delays Florida Property Tax Changes

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

The panel that meets every 20 years to recommend changes to the state’s tax system and budget structure will not weigh in on property tax changes until after voters give a thumbs up or down to a legislative remedy on the issue in January.

Taxation and Budget Reform Commission Chairman Allan Bense told his members Friday that the commission should not influence the outcome of the Jan. 29 election by floating its own proposals.

Read more here… 

Florida Tax Reform – Help Spread the Word

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

Florida realtors are helping to spread the word about the upcoming Florida tax reform issue that will appear on ballots in the 2008 election.  Click here to view an article about support from realtors in Brevard County:

 Support Florida Property Tax Reform