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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Commercial to see ‘measured improvement’

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Nov. 15, 2011 – Despite sluggish economic growth and continuing concerns over high unemployment and the struggling housing market, the modest but steady improvement in commercial real estate in 2011 is expected to continue into 2012 and 2013, analysts told Realtors® during the National Association of Realtors® 2012 Realtors Convention and Expo.

There’s some positive news, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said. Corporations are sitting on large cash reserves. The stock market is performing relatively well. Job gains – although still low – are slowly improving. And foreign buyers, attracted to the investment opportunities here, are in the hunt for properties, Yun explained. What’s more, investors appear to be looking to real estate as an inflation hedge, in part because the other traditional inflation hedges, gold and silver, are hovering at historically high prices.

The weak housing market, with financially strapped owners transitioning to rentals and young adults doubling up with family or friends rather than buying, is helping to fuel activity in multifamily properties, which is the strongest by far of the commercial property sectors, Yun said.

For the second year in a row, absorption of inventory is far outpacing completions of new units in the sector, helping to keep supply and demand in balance. Almost 170,000 units were absorbed in 2011, compared to completions of about 38,000 units. In 2010 the spread was even wider. As a result, vacancies continue to drop and rental rates continue to rise. Yun is forecasting multifamily vacancies to drop to 4.6 percent in 2012 from 5.3 percent this year, and to drop to 4.5 percent in 2013. The rental rate, at a median of $1,066 per unit, is expected to increase 3.5 percent next year and 3.8 percent in 2013.

Offices are seeing improving fundamentals as well, with absorptions at about twice that of completions. Yun is forecasting vacancies to drop from 17.3 percent this year to 16.3 percent next year and 15.9 percent in 2013, with the 2011 rental rate of just under a median of $28 per square foot increasing 1.7 percent in 2012 and 2.4 percent in 2013.

In the industrial sector, absorptions are three times as high as completions, but vacancy rates will rise at least for another year. In his forecast, Yun says vacancies will rise from about 11.1 percent to 11.9 percent next year and then drop back down to 11.1 percent in 2013. The rental rate, at a median of $4.60 per square foot, will rise 1.8 percent in 2012 and 2.34 percent in 2013.

The retail sector is struggling the most, with continuing negative absorption and vacancy rates still heading up. Yun is forecasting vacancies to rise from 11.1 percent to 12.2 percent next year before dropping to 11 percent in 2013. The rental rate, at just under a median of $19 a square foot, is projected to rise 0.7 percent next year and 1.4 percent in 2013. Absorption could pick up if there’s improvement in the dollar volume of retail sales, which remains below its peak before the recession.

Robert White of Real Capital Analytics, a commercial real estate consulting and research company, says much of the activity across sectors has been in higher-end properties in primary markets, but the industry is now starting to see more activity in other types of properties and in secondary and tertiary markets. “It’s been a bifurcated market,” he said, “and that’s starting to change.”

White forecasts $200 billion in sales volume across sectors by the end of the year and a little more than that next year. “Lots of buyers are interested,” he said, in part because the risk premium is so attractive right now. Cap rates, at 7.9 percent, are particularly attractive in the industrial sector. The biggest drag to more volume is the continuing difficulty investors are having in getting financing.

Kenneth Riggs of Real Estate Research Corp. said the pace of recovery, with the possible exception of multifamily housing, has been measured. That’s actually a good thing, because it’s giving prices a chance to improve at a healthy pace. “We’re seeing a good rate of growth,” he said. “Not too fast.”

The analysts said the issue that property owners are having in getting replacement financing for their expiring short-term property debt is still present, but rising prices have eased the problem considerably. Although many owners are still facing hurdles to roll over their debt, the number is far smaller than it has been.

Source: Robert Freedman, REALTOR® Magazine

© 2011 Florida Realtors®

Friday, October 21, 2011

South Florida rents rise as international buyers continue to invest in local housing

As more homeowners turn into renters because of the foreclosure crisis, investors are buying distressed properties and converting them to rentals to meet the demand.

tolorunnipa@MiamiHerald.com

By choice or by force, more and more people in South Florida’s foreclosure-ridden housing market are renting, rather than owning, their homes.

In an ironic twist on economics, that dynamic is actually helping the resale market. According to sales reports released Thursday, South Florida is on track to set a new sales record this year.

The reason: investors.

The majority of today’s homebuyers are not first-time owners or growing families, but opportunistic investors. International buyers and locals with cash are making money in the region’s distressed market by buying up foreclosed homes and turning them into rentals.

Homeowners who have been foreclosed upon, and those who either can’t or won’t buy in this economy, are flooding the rental market with unprecedented demand.

“I talk to a couple investors all over South America and they tell me they buy these condos and it takes them about a week to rent them,” said Craig Studnicky, principal of Miami real estate firm RelatedISG. “Each and every month, the rents are going up.”

Spurred by investor activity, South Florida homes sales rose again in September, according to new data by the Miami Association of Realtors. Sales were down, however, compared to last month.
There were 848 single-family home sales in Miami-Dade County in September, up 46 percent from the same month in 2010, but down 10.8 percent from August. Existing Miami-Dade condo sales reached 1,319, up 58 percent on a year-over-year basis, and flat compared to the previous month.

In Broward County, single-family home sales reached 1,079, up 11 percent year-over-year but down 8.9 percent from the month before. Condo sales totaled 1,281, up 6 percent from the previous year and down 8.4 percent from August.

All-cash buyers, mostly investors, accounted for 63 percent of all sales. Those investors are gravitating towards distressed properties, which make up about 60 percent of home sales and trade at deep discounts.
In September, median prices for condos rose 17 percent in Miami-Dade to $116,000 and rose 3 percent in Broward to $71,900. Single-family home prices fell 6 percent in Miami-Dade to $176,600 and fell 7 percent in Broward to $188,800.

When the housing market began its historic descent four years ago, Miami-based real estate firm The Solution Group shifted its traditional sales model to a three-step investment model: buy cheap, fix up, rent out.

The company buys condos, townhomes and single-family homes that are bank-owned or headed for foreclosure, paying an average of $60,000, said Camilo Lopez, CEO. After fixing up a home and securing a tenant, the company usually sells the property to an international investor looking to diversify portfolios with South Florida real estate.

“Before, [rentals] were zero percent of our business,” said RJ de Varona, chief operating officer of The Solution Group. “Now, they’re absolutely 150 percent. The biggest rental market is homeowners who have lost their homes in foreclosure.”

More than 100,000 South Florida homeowners have lost their properties to foreclosure since 2007, and many of them ended up as renters. Additionally, a cultural shift towards renting and the difficulty of obtaining financing in this economy have pushed occupancy rates up at apartment complexes and rental homes.

Occupancy rates in South Florida are now above 95 percent, and rent prices have risen between 3 and 7 percent this year, according to research by Texas-based MPF Research.

With at least 160,000 homeowners either in foreclosure or so far behind on payments that an eventual foreclosure appears inevitable, the region’s rental market is likely to see growing ranks of new renters for the foreseeable future. As a result, more so-called “vulture investors” will seek hefty profits by buying up distressed property and converting them to rentals.

“We bought a two-bedroom in Kendall in May for $50,000. We invested $10,000 in repairs, and then rented the unit for $1,200 [a month],” said de Varona. “We just closed the sale of the unit for $95,000.”
The international investor who purchased the home is making a 7.5 percent return on his investment, de Varona said.

In addition to the rising rental market, international investors are to drawn to South Florida real estate because the U.S. offers greater legal protection for foreign land owners than many other countries, and because some homeownership can make it easier to obtain a U.S. visa.

Growing investor appetite is driving sales for condos and single-family homes back to the boom time levels of 2005 and 2006. In Miami-Dade County, for example, total sales are expected to reach 29,000 this year, more than 2005’s total.

Still, some warn that the housing market is undergoing a dangerous shift. In effect, international landlords are taking the place of would-be first-time homeowners and move-up families, said Jack McCabe, CEO of McCabe Research and Consulting in Deerfield Beach. “Many Americans that previously had the opportunity to build wealth through the forced savings involved in buying a home are not going to have that opportunity,” he said. “Prices have come down to where [homes] are affordable again, but many American buyers are not able to take advantage of current prices. They aren’t able to qualify for a mortgage, and it’s a cash-buyer market.”

Despite the recent value declines homeowners have experienced during the recession, homeownership has proved a smart investment over the last several decades, with home values rising about 5.4 percent annually on average. The growing crop of renters is not able to benefit from that investment.

Additionally, the idea of saving money as a renter so that you can put together a down payment in the future is not viable for many cash-strapped South Floridians trapped between high rental rates and low wages.

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Broward property tax rate remains steady overall for 2011-12


Sun Sentinel

The spending will be less, the employees fewer, the property-tax revenue lower.

Broward County commissioners gave final approval Tuesday night to a $3.2 billion total budget, including $2.3 billion in spending on general services, for the 2011-12 fiscal year, which will begin Saturday.

Supporting that spending will be a tax rate for general services that goes up for the second year in a row, to $5.122 per $1,000 of taxable assessed property value. That’s compared to last year’s $5.10, and the previous year’s $4.89.

That doesn’t give the full picture, though. The tax that pays off county debt will drop in the coming budget year, so the total tax the county charges will be the same as last year’s, at $5.55 per $1,000 of taxable value. In addition, because of declining property values, the county will collect $20 million less in property taxes.

For property owners, the flat rate means anyone whose taxable property value went up this year will pay more to the county. Broward officials estimate that for the owner of a $116,000 home with longtime homestead protection, the increase will be $12.

Additional property taxes are levied by cities, the Broward School Board, hospital district and other taxing agencies.

But two enormous budget liabilities went unresolved after several hours of debate Tuesday.

• The county’s standoff with the city of Fort Lauderdale over $6 million in emergency dispatch services that the Broward Sheriff’s Office says it no longer will provide without payment. Neither BSO nor the city budgeted for it. This issue will return next week at a county-city workshop meeting.

• The ongoing budget disaster in Lauderdale Lakes. The city owes BSO $9 million, and Broward commissioners debated for more than four hours what to do about it. The county will front $1.1 million toward that debt, but demanded that Lauderdale Lakes tell the state by Friday that it is in a state of financial emergency and ask the state to appoint an oversight board to manage the city’s financial affairs.

Commissioners talked about forcing the city into bankruptcy, having the city be dissolved, and other drastic measures. This issue will come back to the County Commission on Oct. 11.

“They’re done. They’re history,” said Commissioner John Rodstrom, among those expressing doubt that Lauderdale Lakes could survive.

No local Broward government has gone unscathed in the recession and real estate bust. The county’s tax collections are $257 million less than five years ago. During that time, the number of county employees dropped from 6,509 to 5,469 in the new budget year.

On guard against cuts Tuesday were library fans, an enduring group who appear at budget hearings regardless of whether cuts are planned.

Mae Silver summed up why: “We want to let you know we’re watching. And we want to let you know we are not pleased when there are cuts, for our baby.”

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/09/27/2428313/broward-property-tax-rate-remains.html#ixzz1ZFhYEEB5

Friday, September 9, 2011

Home prices may weaken after summer gains

By Julie Schmit, USA TODAY

 U.S. home prices rose over the summer, boosted by the summer buying season, but signs of weakening were evident in August given renewed consumer fears over the economy, according to a new report.

Home prices rose 4% in the four months ended Aug. 31 vs. the previous three months, market researcher Clear Capital reports today.

Yet year-over-year prices were down 6.2%, the data show. What's more, the rate of growth slowed in August, meaning that the seasonal upswing in prices "has most likely reached its peak," Clear Capital says.

Many economists have predicted that U.S. home prices, which have shown signs in recent months of coasting toward a bottom after a five-year drop, will resume dropping this fall and maybe into next year. The big question is how far prices will fall, given the recent stock market turmoil, persistently high unemployment and renewed shocks to consumer confidence stemming from the U.S. and European debt crises.

The housing market "is at a critical juncture as to whether it can avoid another significant downturn," in the slower buying seasons of fall and winter, says Alex Villacorta, director of research for Clear Capital.

One bad sign: Low mortgage rates aren't enough to entice buyers. For the week ended Friday, demand for mortgage applications to buy homes remained near 15-year lows -- and down 13.5% from the same week a year ago -- the Mortgage Bankers Association reported Wednesday. Demand is weak despite 15-year fixed-rate mortgages that averaged 3.4%, the lowest rate since at least 1990, and 30-year fixed-rate loans averaging 4.2%, a near-record low, the MBA said.

Clear Capital provides one of the earliest glimpses at national housing data. On Wednesday, real estate website Zillow also reported that, for the first time in five years, home values have increased on a national level. Its data show that the median home value rose 0.1% from June to July.

Last week, researcher CoreLogic reported that U.S. home prices in July edged up for the fourth-consecutive month but were down 5.2% year over year. The widely watched Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller home price index recently reported a price boost through June because of spring buyers. When adjusted for seasonal factors, home prices in the second quarter were basically flat with the quarter before, the Case-Shiller data show.

For Property Tax Appeal assistance: www.PTAGflorida.com 

Story Link: http://www.usatoday.com/

Friday, September 2, 2011

Make 12% Interest By Paying Your Florida Real Estate Property Taxes


You Can Get 12% Interest If You Appeal Your Property Taxes In Florida

Call your local banker and see if you can convince them to pay you 12% interest.  No luck???  Well you may still be able to get 12% interest paid by your Florida government.

Newly enacted Florida Statutes Section 194.014(2) states the following in part:
(2) ... If the value adjustment board determines that a refund is due, the overpaid amount accrues interest at the rate of 12 percent per year from the date the taxes became delinquent pursuant to s. 197.333 until a refund is paid. Interest does not accrue on amounts paid in excess of 100 percent of the current taxes due as provided on the tax notice issued pursuant to s. 197.322.
Now more than ever, it can really pay to appeal your real estate property taxes.


In the past, the government charged you interest if you didn't pay your property taxes, but they never paid you interest if you appealed your property taxes and got them reduced.  Now, Florida Statutes Section 194.014 levels the playing field by allowing property owners to obtain 12% interest on any over-payment.


There is no way of proving you overpaid your taxes UNLESS you appeal your taxes!


Filing a petition to appeal your property taxes before the September 19, 2011 Deadline Date is the only way to give yourself a chance to show why you overpaid on your taxes.


THE DEADLINE DATE TO APPEAL YOUR TAXES:
SEPTEMBER 19, 2011


BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE: 
visit our website
or click the banner below
to download the petition form

PTAG Tax Appeal Petition Form

Changes to the Florida Property Tax Appeal System - Time and Cost Management

Creation of Florida Statute 194.014

The State of Florida provides property owners the right to appeal their real estate property tax assessments each year by filing petitions with their county's Value Adjustment Board ("VAB").  The time County VAB's take to complete the appeal process varies, but has dramatically increased in recent years due in part to the following factors:
  • Growing number of petitions;
  • Recent changes in state law and administrative rules; and
  • involvement of property tax representatives such as the Property Tax Appeal Group
In order to change this trend of County VAB's taking longer to complete the property tax appeals each year, the Florida Legislature directed the Office of Program Policy Analysis & Government Accountability ("OPPAGA") to review the Value Adjustment Board process and answer the following four (4) questions:
  1. What is the role of value adjustment boards?
  2. What factors affect the length of the value adjustment board process?
  3. What costs are associated with the value adjustment board process?
  4. What options could the Legislature consider to modify the value adjustment board process?
The OPPAGA published results in their December, 2010 Report No. 10-64.  Within which, the OPPAGA recommends that if the Legislature wishes to make additional changes to the Value Adjustment Board process, it could consider options to:
  1. shorten the process;
  2. address costs and other fiscal implications; and
  3. increase accountability
As a result of the OPPAGA findings, the Florida Legislature drafted and recently passed the following Florida Statute:

1194.014 Partial payment of ad valorem taxes; proceedings before value adjustment board.
(1)(a) A petitioner before the value adjustment board who challenges the assessed value of property must pay all of the non-ad valorem assessments and make a partial payment of at least 75 percent of the ad valorem taxes, less the applicable discount under s. 197.162, before the taxes become delinquent pursuant to s. 197.333.
(b)1. A petitioner before the value adjustment board who challenges the denial of a classification or exemption, or the assessment based on an argument that the property was not substantially complete as of January 1, must pay all of the non-ad valorem assessments and the amount of the tax which the taxpayer admits in good faith to be owing, less the applicable discount under s. 197.162, before the taxes become delinquent pursuant to s. 197.333.
2. If the value adjustment board determines that the amount of the tax that the taxpayer has admitted to be owing pursuant to this paragraph is grossly disproportionate to the amount of the tax found to be due and that the taxpayer’s admission was not made in good faith, the tax collector must collect a penalty at the rate of 10 percent of the deficiency per year from the date the taxes became delinquent pursuant to s. 197.333.
(c) The value adjustment board must deny the petition by written decision by April 20 if the petitioner fails to make the payment required by this subsection. The clerk, upon issuance of the decision, shall, on a form provided by the Department of Revenue, notify by first-class mail each taxpayer, the property appraiser, and the department of the decision of the board.
(2) If the value adjustment board determines that the petitioner owes ad valorem taxes in excess of the amount paid, the unpaid amount accrues interest at the rate of 12 percent per year from the date the taxes became delinquent pursuant to s. 197.333 until the unpaid amount is paid. If the value adjustment board determines that a refund is due, the overpaid amount accrues interest at the rate of 12 percent per year from the date the taxes became delinquent pursuant to s. 197.333 until a refund is paid. Interest does not accrue on amounts paid in excess of 100 percent of the current taxes due as provided on the tax notice issued pursuant to s. 197.322.
(3) This section does not apply to petitions for ad valorem tax deferrals pursuant to chapter 197.

History.s. 1, ch. 2011-181.
1Note.Section 4, ch. 2011-181, provides that “[t]his act shall take effect July 1, 2011, and shall apply to petitions filed with value adjustment boards on or after July 1, 2011.”

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Property Tax Appeal Group Interviewed by CBS 4 News on Property Taxes

In Case You Missed The Interview...


CBS Miami Channel 4 News
Interviews the Property Tax Appeal Group
On Appealing High Property Taxes

Click Image Below to be taken to the CBS 4 website


THE DEADLINE DATE TO APPEAL YOUR TAXES:
SEPTEMBER 19, 2011


BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE: 
visit our website
or click the banner below
to download the petition form

PTAG Tax Appeal Petition Form


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

PTAG Finding Flaws In Artwork and Properties

Can You Point Out The Flaws?



EVEN THE MOST FAMOUS WORKS OF ART CAN CONTAIN PROPERTY DEFECTS
The Property Tax Appeal Group has trained professionals that can identify and point out reasons the County should reduce the property taxes for your home, condo, or commercial property in Miami Dade and Broward County.

THE DEADLINE DATE TO APPEAL YOUR TAXES:
SEPTEMBER 19, 2011


BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE: 
visit our website
or click the banner below
to download the petition form

PTAG Tax Appeal Petition Form

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What Is The Value Adjustment Board (VAB)?

Value Adjustment Board

Every County within the State of Florida has a Value Adjustment Board, also called the VAB.  The VAB consists of the following five (5) members:
  • Two (2) from the County's Board of Commissioners
  • One (1) from the School Board
  • Two (2) are citizen members
The Clerk of the Circuit and County Courts is the Clerk of the Value Adjustment Board (VAB). The VAB as a panel considers and renders a decision on all appeals of property assessed values, classifications and exemptions. The VAB has no jurisdiction or control over taxes or tax rates established by Taxing Authorities. The VAB's primary function is to hear evidence as to whether or not properties, petitioned for their consideration, are assessed at their proper value and/or whether tax exemptions or agricultural classifications should be approved. The VAB cannot change your assessed value or grant an exemption or agricultural classification for any other reason, such as inability to pay.

The Property Tax Appeal Group (P-TAG) at www.PTAGflorida.com helps real estate property owners file petitions with the VAB and fight to reduce property taxes.

Special Magistrates

To assist the VAB, the VAB appoints Special Magistrates who are either qualified real estate appraisers, personal property appraisers, or attorneys, to conduct hearings and make recommendations to the VAB on all petitions. The primary issue for an Appraiser Special Magistrate to decide is whether or not the assessed value of the petitioned property exceeds its actual market value as of JANUARY 1ST of the relevant tax year. The primary issues to be determined by Attorney Special Magistrates are whether exemptions or agricultural classifications should be granted based on the evidence presented.

Both the VAB and the Special Magistrates are independent of the Property Appraiser's Office. In fact, the Property Appraiser is merely another party before the VAB or the Special Magistrate, just as is the petitioner (taxpayer).

If the VAB decides that it does not agree with the Property Appraiser's Office regarding the assessed value of a petitioner's property, the VAB has the authority to reduce the property’s assessed value to its actual fair market value. If the VAB reduces an assessment within the limits described below, then the Property Appraiser must accept the reduction and may not appeal the VAB decision by filing a suit in the Circuit Court. If, however, the VAB decision results in a reduction exceeding the limits described below, the Property Appraiser may appeal the VAB decision by filing suit in Circuit Court.

How To File Petition With P-TAG To Appeal Your Real Estate Taxes:



STEP 1:
CLICK HERE TO OBTAIN THE AGREEMENT



STEP 2:
Fill out the Agreement and send it back to us either via:
         
          Fax:
          305.693.3497

          Email:
          info@PTAGflorida.com

          Mail:
          Property Tax Appeal Group, LLC
          1060 East 33rd Street, Suite “B”
          Hialeah, Florida 33013


STEP 3:
Send payment of $20 per folio number to our address listed above.  Payment can also be made via email or fax by providing PTAG with your credit card information.

For More Information, please visit us at:
www.PTAGflorida.com

Monday, August 29, 2011

File Your Property Tax Appeal For Your Retail Shopping Center

SEPTEMBER 19, 2011 is the deadline date to appeal your real estate property taxes for your Retail Shopping Center in both Miami Dade and Broward County


For over 30 years, the Property Tax Appeal Group ("P-TAG") and its principals have appealed the real estate (ad valorem) property tax assessment for many retail shopping centers located in both Miami Dade and Broward County.

The Property Tax Appeal Group can handle your retail shopping center tax appeal in both Miami Dade and Broward, as well as for the following types of properties:
  • Apartments
  • Condominiums
  • Houses
  • Industrial Warehouses
  • Land
  • Offices
  • Retail Shopping Centers
Because both Miami Dade and Broward County recently mailed out their proposed tax rates (called a "Truth In Millage Notice" or TRIM Notice) to all property owners, any owner of real estate property located in either Miami Dade or Broward County now has until September 19, 2011 to file petitions to appeal their real estate property tax assessment.

How To File Petition With P-TAG To Appeal Your Real Estate Taxes:




STEP 1:
CLICK HERE TO OBTAIN THE AGREEMENT



STEP 2:
Fill out the Agreement and send it back to us either via:
         
          Fax:
          305.693.3497

          Email:
          info@PTAGflorida.com

          Mail:
          Property Tax Appeal Group, LLC
          1060 East 33rd Street, Suite “B”
          Hialeah, Florida 33013


STEP 3:
Send payment of $20 per folio number to our address listed above.  Payment can also be made via email or fax by providing PTAG with your credit card information.

For More Information, please visit us at:
www.PTAGflorida.com


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Miami Herald: For homeowners, property tax news is a little better this time around

Property tax notices are being delivered this week, and homeowners who object have less than a month to appeal their property assessment.

tolorunnipa@MiamiHerald.com

Preliminary property tax notices are hitting 1.8 million mailboxes across South Florida this week, but most owners of residential and commercial property don’t need to be as anxious this time around.

Overall property value declines have slowed considerably — with some cities seeing increases — and elected officials have held tax rates steady or cut them, signaling that property owners can expect fewer surprises than in the past couple of years.

Property values declined 2.8 percent in Miami-Dade County and 1.6 percent in Broward County in 2010, after sinking double-digits the year before. However, changes in individual property assessments will vary based on where you live and when you bought your house, said Miami-Dade County Property Appraiser Pedro Garcia.

“You have areas that the influence of the foreclosures is very heavy — like Florida City and the Homestead area — and some of those values are way down,” he said. “Then you have areas like Coral Gables, Key Biscayne and Miami Beach, where the values have increased a little bit.”

Miami-Dade County commissioners voted last month to do away with last year’s unpopular tax rate increase, rolling the county’s preliminary millage rate back to 2009 levels. For property owners, the reduced rate could translate to savings of 12 percent or more. However, in cities like Sunny Isles Beach, where average values rose 3.9 percent in 2010, some of the rollback might be offset by higher assessments.

In Broward County, where property tax notices went out last week, the County Administrator has indicated that rates will remain flat. But in cities like Weston, where the average property value increased by 1.5 percent, taxes could increase for some homeowners.

City and county commissioners will meet in September to settle on the final tax rates, which can be lower, but not higher, than the preliminary rates. Final tax bills will be sent in November.

In the meantime, homeowners can choose to challenge the assessed value of their property before Sept. 19.
Those who disagree with the property appraiser’s assessment can file a petition with the county value adjustment board and pay a $15 filing fee.

Property appraisers for both counties acknowledged that the assessment process is not an exact science, and homeowners know the details of their property best. About 40 percent of appellants are able to successfully challenge property assessments.

“When you use a mass appraisal system, we get as close as we can get,” said Lori Parrish, Broward County’s property appraiser. “We don’t [assess] 900,000 properties individually, so it’s not an exact science for every single home.”

Although appeals fell considerably last year, property tax consultants are encouraging more homeowners to challenge their assessments this year, as the market seems to be at or near a bottom.

“Because values are at an all-time low, [property owners] should take advantage of this and try to reset the bar even lower, so that for years to come, they’re at a lower rate,” said Barry Sharpe, president of the Property Tax Appeal Group, a Hialeah-based property tax appeal company.

Florida’s 1992 Save Our Homes law stipulates that assessed values can only increase by 3 percent each year, so setting a low bar this year could provide tax savings for many years to come, Sharpe said.

For longtime homeowners, a side effect of that 3-percent cap is that property assessments continue to go up until they catch up with market values. That means some property owners will see their taxes increase even as home prices slide.

There are a few new rules that homeowners should keep in mind this year:

People appealing property assessments are required to pay at least 75 percent of their tax bill before April 1, or the appeal will be rejected. The state Legislature enacted the rule earlier this year to prevent people from using the appeals process to game the system.

Military personnel deployed overseas are eligible for a new exemption this year. Those who were stationed in Iraq or Afghanistan during 2010 will received a tax exemption based on the length of their deployment. For example, someone deployed for six months during 2010 would receive a 50-percent exemption of Ad Valorem taxes this year.

“We’re going to give them an additional exemption,” said Garcia. “We understand some of them are currently deployed, so anybody in their family can come to our office and apply for that exemption.”
For the next three weeks, the property appraisers offices in Broward and Miami-Dade counties will devote additional resources to fielding questions from property owners about taxes, exemptions and assessments, Garcia and Parrish said.

“We have 25 days that people can come to our office with questions,” said Garcia. “They don’t have to make any appointment. They can just show up.”

For Property Tax Appeal help: www.PTAGflorida.com

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/08/24/2373921/for-homeowners-property-tax-news.html#ixzz1W37y2RB1

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Time to Appeal Your Real Estate Property Taxes in Broward

SEPTEMBER 19, 2011 is the deadline date to appeal your real estate property taxes in Broward County


For over 30 years, the Property Tax Appeal Group ("P-TAG") and its principals have appealed the real estate (ad valorem) property tax assessment for many properties located in Broward County.

The Property Tax Appeal Group can handle your Broward property tax appeal for the following types of properties:
  • Apartments
  • Condominiums
  • Houses
  • Industrial Warehouses
  • Land
  • Offices
  • Retail Shopping Centers
Because Broward County recently mailed out their proposed tax rates (called a "Truth In Millage Notice" or TRIM Notice) to all property owners, any owner of real estate property located in Broward County now has until September 19, 2011 to file petitions to appeal their real estate property tax assessment.

How To File Petition With P-TAG To Appeal Your Real Estate Taxes:




STEP 1:
CLICK HERE TO OBTAIN THE AGREEMENT



STEP 2:
Fill out the Agreement and send it back to us either via:
         
          Fax:
          305.693.3497

          Email:
          info@PTAGflorida.com

          Mail:
          Property Tax Appeal Group, LLC
          1060 East 33rd Street, Suite “B”
          Hialeah, Florida 33013


STEP 3:
Send payment of $20 per folio number to our address listed above.  Payment can also be made via email or fax by providing PTAG with your credit card information.

For More Information, please visit us at:
www.PTAGflorida.com


Time to Appeal Your Real Estate Property Taxes in Miami Dade

SEPTEMBER 19, 2011 is the deadline date to appeal your real estate property taxes in Miami Dade County


For over 30 years, the Property Tax Appeal Group ("P-TAG") and its principals have appealed the real estate (ad valorem) property tax assessment for many properties located in Miami Dade County.

The Property Tax Appeal Group can handle your Miami Dade property tax appeal for the following types of properties:
  • Apartments
  • Condominiums
  • Houses
  • Industrial Warehouses
  • Land
  • Offices
  • Retail Shopping Centers
Because Miami Dade County recently mailed out their proposed tax rates (called a "Truth In Millage Notice" or TRIM Notice) to all property owners, any owner of real estate property located in Miami Dade County now has until September 19, 2011 to file petitions to appeal their real estate property tax assessment.

How To File Petition With P-TAG To Appeal Your Real Estate Taxes:




STEP 1:
CLICK HERE TO OBTAIN THE AGREEMENT



STEP 2:
Fill out the Agreement and send it back to us either via:
         
          Fax:
          305.693.3497

          Email:
          info@PTAGflorida.com

          Mail:
          Property Tax Appeal Group, LLC
          1060 East 33rd Street, Suite “B”
          Hialeah, Florida 33013


STEP 3:
Send payment of $20 per folio number to our address listed above.  Payment can also be made via email or fax by providing PTAG with your credit card information.

For More Information, please visit us at:
www.PTAGflorida.com


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Market May Lead Home Prices in Recovery


By Mike Colpitts 
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Home and condominium prices soared higher for the first time in more than five years in Miami

as existing sales in the metropolitan region rose at a rapid pace in July, according to the Miami Association of Realtors. The spike in average home prices may signal a major turn around for the market, which has been one of the hardest hit in the U.S.
The average sales price for homes in Miami-Dade County increased 9.3% in July from a year ago, and condos soared an average of 17.9% during the month as foreign buyers took advantage of discount priced foreclosures and near record low mortgage rates.
Sales of existing homes rose 47% in July and condominiums increased 33% in what may be developing as one of the first major transitions from the real estate crash to a home price recovery. The Miami market has idled from a housing downturn that led the nation in deflation for more than three years, but the increase in home and condo prices may show the first signs of a major home price recovery with higher prices in July.
The Florida housing market has a long way to go to recover from its downturn, but Miami could lead the turn around. Statewide sales rose 12% in July, but home prices are still declining in most of the state. Miami may lead the state’s recovery. More than half or 59% of transactions were paid in cash during the month.

“Miami is a hotspot for tourists, the entertainment industry, and global corporations, generating attention from around the world and boosting the local real estate market,” said Jack Levine, Miami Realtor Association chairman. “While local housing inventory has declined dramatically over the last three years, the local market still offers opportunities for all types buyers and competitive pricing compared to many U.S. and international markets.”
Condominium developments are still idled in Miami Beach, fenced off and awaiting a rebirth as a result of lenders pulling financing during the crash, but are slowly receiving new financing programs after developers settle with banks in court and often times hedge funds that once backed the financing on their projects.
The effect of short sales and foreclosures on home prices has dropped in some areas of the greater Miami region. In June, 57% of all closed residential sales in Miami-Dade County were distressed, including foreclosures and short sales compared to 65% a year earlier.
Published August 19, 2011 Story Link

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Surfside, FL residents may see reduced tax bills this fall after town commissioners adopted a lower tax rate

What you need to know: Even with a lower Tax rate, you may still be paying more in Taxes than you should.  The County may have improperly assessed your property/building.  The County uses Mass appraisal practices so they typically do not know the specifics about YOUR property.  We can look at your property and give you an idea on its value.

Surfside residents will likely keep a little more of their money next year after town commissioners adopted a lower property tax rate for 2011-2012. The new rate is $5.50 or every $1,000 of assessed property value, which is down from last year’s $5.60.

Martin Sherwood, Surfside’s finance director, said that nearly all property owners in town will pay less in taxes.

Surfside’s new tax rate still needs to go before the commission during two budget hearings before taking effect Oct. 1, the start of the 2011-12 fiscal year. During that process, commissioners can lower the tax rate even more, but can only raise it under very specific and costly circumstances — an option few municipalities ever exercise.

Sherwood said the town was able to lower the tax rate despite a 5 percent dip in property assessments.
The reason: City officials thought the dip in property revenue would have been even steeper, given the countywide trend in recent years.

“We had assumed a valuation decrease of 6.5 percent for next year’s budget,” Sherwood said.
The 1.5 percent difference left about $81,000 in wiggle room for the new budget, which is about $30 million.
Sherwood said the town will also be able to cut expenses by reducing its contributions to the employee pension plan, which is funded at about 114 percent, by about $158,000.

And while the town did not hire any new employees during this fiscal year, there are three new full-time positions that will be filled in the new fiscal year, including an assistant to Sherwood and an assistant to the town clerk.

Under the proposed tax rate, the owner of a typical Surfside home assessed at $250,000, taking the standard $50,000 homestead exemption, would see a tax cut of about $206.

Longtime homeowners who have benefited from Save Our Homes in the past,
which capped assessment increases at 3 percent a year, will likely see the least reduction to their tax bills. Save Our Homes stipulates that increases must continue annually until they are equal to the market value of the home.

Those figures only include city tax; the county, school district and other local agencies have additional levies.
The two public budget hearings are scheduled for 5:01 p.m. Sept. 13 and Sept. 26 at Surfside Town Hall, 9293 Harding Ave.

Story Link

Property Tax Appeal help: www.PTAGflorida.com

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

FDLE Supervisor Busted for Homestead Exemption Fraud

  The Lesson: Do not file a Homestead Exemption on your income producing property.  All it takes is one person that you have upset filing a complaint.  It just is not worth it.  While you do not qualify for the 3% cap, you do receive a 10% cap.

Key West agent claimed homestead exemption on house he didn't live in, investigators said

Florida Department of Law Enforcement officials had to arrest one of their own Wednesday.
Vincent Weiner, a supervisor in the Key West Field Office, has been charged with grand theft and fraud after he allegedly made false claims on his property taxes, FDLE investigators said.

Weiner has worked for FDLE for nearly 20 years, but it's his property taxes from the past three years that caught investigators' attention.

After receiving a complaint about Weiner's property tax documents in April, officials began to take a closer look at Weiner's property tax claims, officials said.

They found that from 2007 to 2010 Weiner had been claiming a homestead exemption on a home he didn't live in, officials said.

The false claim resulted in close to $6,000 in tax exemptions Weiner didn't deserve, investigators said.
Weiner has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.

It was unclear if he had an attorney.

Story Link

For advice of Property Tax Appeal help: www.PTAGflorida.com

Monday, August 15, 2011

Miami Residential Sales Spike 49% in 2Q, Reflects Strength of the Market

(MIAMI, FL) -- Based on a new report from the Miami Association of Realtors, the Miami Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), sales of homes - including existing single-family homes and condominiums - increased 49 percent, from 4,557 to 6,768, in the second quarter of 2011 and 15 percent from the previous quarter. This rise marks 12 consecutive quarters, since the third quarter of 2008, of increasing sales.

The Miami MSA posted the highest sales increases of any major metro area for condominiums and of all single-family home markets in Florida.  Miami sales of existing single-family homes increased 31 percent compared to a year earlier.  The sales of existing condominiums in Miami spiked 62 percent compared to the second quarter of 2010.  Statewide sales of single-family homes increased 1 percent while that of condominiums increased 14 percent.  Nationally, total state existing-home sales, including single-family and condo, declined 5.4 percent compared to the first quarter of 2011 and were 12.7 percent below the second quarter of 2010.

"Miami sales have increased consistently for nearly three years," said Jack H. Levine, 2011 Chairman of the Board of the Miami Association of Realtors.  "Residential sales have exceeded last year's levels, which were boosted by the homebuyer tax credit.  International buyers and investors continue to fuel the Miami real estate market unlike any other in the U.S., resulting in rapid inventory absorption."

Vanessa Grout, CEO and President of Douglas Elliman Florida tells the World Property Channel, "The increase in 2Q Miami sales activity is due to the continual clearing of distressed sales and an increasing confidence in the value of our isolated submarket. The Miami housing market is hot because buyers perceive the worth in owning property in such a vibrant area. When a property in Miami is priced correctly it does sell."

Median Sales Prices

Short sales and foreclosures continue to have an impact on median and average sales prices for both single-family homes and condominiums especially in some areas of the county.

The median sales price for single-family homes in Miami-Dade dropped only nine percent to $178,800 in the first quarter.  The median sales price for condominiums dropped six percent to $119,800.  Statewide, median sales prices dropped five percent to $134,600 for single-family homes and two percent to $94,700 for condominiums.  The national median existing single-family home price was $171,900 in the second quarter, down 2.8 percent from $176,800 in the second quarter of 2010.

"Current Miami sales levels are reflective of a healthy and balanced marketplace," said Miami  Association of Realtors Residential President Ralph E. De Martino.  "While distressed sales are still impacting home prices to some degree, many local areas and buildings throughout South Florida have been experiencing rising values for quite some time.  We also continue to see extreme demand for bank-owned properties, resulting in multiple offers and a dwindling supply."

Inventory Levels

Total housing inventory in Miami-Dade County has decreased 39 percent from a year ago and 13 percent from the previous quarter.  Since August 2008, when home sales began to rise, local inventory has declined 64 percent.

Story Link

For Property Tax Appeal help: www.PTAGflorida.com

Friday, August 12, 2011

How to pay less Property Tax than your neighbor.


Simple...even if you believe your Property Taxes are low, let an expert at the Property Tax Appeal Group look at it.  Even if you think your Property Taxes are assessed properly, you might be wrong.  Many of our clients are amazed by the reductions we are able to get them. 

This year, with the state of the economy, it is so important (as a property owner) to lock in your lowest rate possible.  In Florida, there are assessment caps such at the Homestead Exemption that  is available to anyone in Florida as long as they are a U.S. citizen and legally own the home.  This exemption also places an assessment cap on your property.

Assessment caps require that assessments not increase more than a set percentage each year.  With an assessment cap, properties that are increasing in values more rapidly than others could be under assessed.  This could be happen because the tax does not allow those properties to be assessed at their true value.

For example, let us say that there are homes in a high end neighborhood that are increasing in value more rapidly than older homes in a less desirable area.  The high end homes may be increasing in value at a rate of 12% each year and the older homes may be increasing at 3% per year.  Homestead properties caps limit any increases to a maximum of the cost of living or 3%. 

This cap would prevent the high end homes from being assessed at their true market value, while the older homes would be assessed at full market value.  This would leave the owners of the older homes holding the bag because the high end home owners would not be paying their fare share.  Of course this is not always the case, but it is a possible flaw with assessment caps.

For Property Tax Appeal help: www.PTAGflorida.com