Staff Report

For the third consecutive year, Hillsborough County’s real estate values are showing a “healthy appreciation,” Property Appraiser Bob Henriquez said.

According to statistics of sales compiled by the Hillsborough County Property Appraiser’s (HCPA) office for this year’s values, most of the county’s nearly 475,000 parcels – the majority of which are single family homes — have seen an increase in value. This increase will be reflected in this year’s Truth in Millage (TRIM) notices.

With three weeks remaining before the HCPA begins mailing TRIM notices to property owners, the overall value of real estate in Hillsborough County increased approximately $5.3 billion for this year’s values, a jump of 7.77 percent over last year’s values. Henriquez believes single-digit increases in property values for the third straight year reflects a sustainable, vibrant economy.

“In the prior decade, we saw an extraordinary rise in property values that were not favorable for the long-term health of our economy,” Henriquez said.

While property values are on the rise, there is a cap protecting home owners with homestead exemption on how much of an increase they will see on the assessed value of their property. Thanks to the Save Our Homes amendment, the maximum increase on the assessed value of their homestead property is capped at 0.8 percent this year.

Assuming a property owner has not made any additions to their property with homestead exemption, the assessed value of their property cannot increase more than 0.8 percent over its assessed value from 2014 (excluding newly purchased homes, where the cap is reset). Assessed value is the market value of the property after the cap limit has been applied.

From 2003 to 2005, taxable values in Hillsborough County rose from 10.63 percent to a whopping 21.50 percent. In 2006, values were still experiencing double-digit increases (11.70 percent). But with the start of the economic downtown in 2007, values fell 4.73 percent, followed by drops of 12.83 percent and 10.83 percent in 2008 and 2009, respectively. Taxable values continued to tumble in 2010 (-4.27 percent) and 2011 (-2.11 percent) before returning to positive gains in 2012 (5.08 percent). That gain was followed by a 7.20 percent increase for the 2013 tax year and 2014’s 7.77 percent increase. Each year’s value is officially established as of January 1.

Henriquez said, “One of the key factors promoting the increase in property values is the overall growth of the economy. Speaking in general terms, when the economy is healthy, real estate values are healthy.”