Property values have 'turned the corner'
DADE CITY -
After years of decline, Pasco County's property values could be on their way up.
Pasco County Property Appraiser Mike Wells said he would release his official projections later this week, but the state Office of Economic and Demographic Research has reported Pasco's tax base grew by 2 percent in 2012.
The Revenue Estimating Conference is charged with providing the governor and state Legislature with estimates of ad valorem revenue, gas taxes, sales tax income and other types of projections, as well as long-term economic trends.
Amy Baker, coordinator of the Revenue Estimating Conference, said her department bases its projections on sales, building permits, new construction and commercial leases. Basically, they look at the same data as the county's property appraiser.
“Whatever they have done becomes our starting point,” she said.
The office is predicting a modest gain in statewide taxable values of 1.2-percent. Pasco County's growth would exceed that rate.
“We turned the corner — that's clear,” Baker said. “This is our first positive projection in five years.”
Pasco's property values were in a freefall after the housing bust in 2007. After years of double-digit gains, home values plummeted for five straight years.
Baker said her office is projecting slow, steady growth statewide for the next five years. Pasco County's growth should outpace the rest of the Tampa Bay region, reaching 7.7-percent by 2017, compared to Hillsborough County's 6.1-percent and Pinellas County's 3.3-percent.
Baker said the conference projections are usually pretty accurate on a statewide basis, but they can vary from county to county. Last year the conference projected Pasco County would see just a .6-percent loss in taxable value, so the county's budget office was shocked when the actual tax roll showed a 5.2-percent drop.
That's one reason Wells said he hasn't even looked at the state projections for this year. He said reports that Pasco home prices have increased by double-digit rates are wildly inaccurate.
“I keep reading about all these 10- and 12-percent increases,” he said. “It just isn't happening. Some neighborhoods are going up, but I have to consider the whole county. There are plenty of areas where the home prices are still going down.”
His comments would appear to confirm the state's finding that overall home prices grew by less than 1 percent. In the executive summery, the conference reported that Housing Price Index, while on the rise, excludes sales of foreclosed homes.
“In this regard, the conference is particularly concerned that the foreclosure inventory of residential properties in Florida remains high, and its future effects are not reflected in the current HPI readings,” the report states.