Fisher Island life certainly looks good from afar: sugar-white sand imported from the Bahamas, a private nine-hole golf course, honey-and-honey bath rituals at the community spa.
But don’t get too jealous until you consider the average bill for property taxes: more than $35,000 a year, the highest in Miami-Dade County.
With Florida lawmakers pushing to lower property on primary residences, the geography of tax bills has even more relevance across South Florida. This chart tracks the average tax bill by ZIP code for owners of single-family homes and condominiums, and it details a wide swing from the pricey coastal areas to the less prosperous interior.
For about 90 ZIP codes in Miami-Dade, the average property-tax bill comes to just over $4,300 per year, according to an analysis by ATTOM Data Solutions.
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Tax rates vary by city in Miami-Dade, ranging from 1.7 percent (Key Biscayne) to 2.6 percent (Opa-locka), with the county average landing at about 2.1 percent. The map illustrates how property-tax bills track real estate values: Owners of expensive homes pay far more for government services than do owners of more affordable real estate.
That also means property-tax relief has more impact in middle-class neighborhoods. The Florida Legislature this week passed a bill that would add $25,000 to the existing $50,000 deduction homeowners can take on their primary residence. The extra deduction would only apply to homes worth more than $100,000, and Miami-Dade estimates the giveback would cost the county about $50 million a year in lost tax revenue. The bill requires a statewide referendum for the tax cut to take effect.
[Considering a move? Here are the property-tax rates for every city in Miami-Dade County.]
With a $25,000 deduction worth about $500 for the average Miami-Dade taxpayer, the state proposal would shave off a much larger percentage of the typical tax bill in Hialeah (where the average taxpayer pays about $2,100 a year) than in Key Biscayne (where the average bill is about $17,000).
Which isn’t to say high tax bills aren’t a worry of the very rich. Barbara Lamar, a luxury real estate agent with Sotheby’s, said even cash buyers able to plunk down millions for a mansion will balk at the yearly bill from the government for a luxury property.
“They may have the wherewithal to purchase a large property,” she said, “but they do have to take that [tax bill] into consideration. Sometimes they have decided it’s too much to carry.”
President Donald Trump’s administration has floated the idea of eliminating the main cushion against high property-tax bills: the ability to deduct the expense from federal income taxes. “It’s a hot topic,” said Daren Blomquist, a senior vice president at ATTOM Data. “Property taxes are the second-highest expense for home ownership, next to a mortgage payment.”
This article was updated to correct the average tax bill in Fisher Island.