Miami-Dade County

Miami-Dade property values up 8.6 percent

A photo of the construction underway earlier this year at Miami’s Brickell City Centre. A new construction boom is helping lift taxable values throughout Miami-Dade County.
A photo of the construction underway earlier this year at Miami’s Brickell City Centre. A new construction boom is helping lift taxable values throughout Miami-Dade County. Miami Herald staff

Property values surged 8.6 percent across Miami-Dade last year, priming local governments for a windfall in tax revenue in 2016 and offering another measure of a surging real estate market.

New estimates from the county’s Property Appraiser detail the second housing boom under way along the coast, with waterfront cities posting some of the largest gains. Sunny Isles Beach took the top spot, with a 15.7 percent gain. No city saw more valuable new construction than Key Biscayne, which recorded an additional half-billion dollars’ worth of real estate when 2015 began.

Suburban jurisdictions saw less explosive growth, and some Miami-Dade cities fell well below the average. And the countywide total is still about 7 percent below the peak set in 2009. But with property values countywide beating forecasts for 2015, Monday’s report details the fiscal breathing room that a seller’s market can provide.

“We’re seeing a lot of new construction all over,” said Pedro Garcia, the county’s elected property appraiser. “It really was not a surprise. We saw it coming.”

The higher values could put pressure on some elected leaders to roll back tax rates in order to keep actual tax bills from rising next fall. In Miami-Dade, budget officials had forecast a 5.5 percent in taxable value countywide for the 2016 budget year. Existing properties saw their taxable values increase 7.3 percent. An added $2.7 billion worth of new construction boosted the gain to 8.6 percent.

Released at the start of June each year, the report offers a jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction look at how real estate trends are unfolding throughout the county. Among the notable statistics:

▪ Virginia Gardens finished last in terms of growth, recording zero new construction and only a tiny .1 percent gain in existing property values. Mayor Spencer Deno said the negligible growth didn’t surprise him, since the village saw a 29 percent spike in values in 2014 as Boeing opened a new training center and the Space Coast Credit Union finished its construction.

“We were on the other end of the spectrum a year ago,” he said.

▪ Demolition work caused Bay Harbor Islands to see its new-construction figure actually depress growth in the tax base. The village, a tony enclave now in the midst of a battle between developers and historic preservationists, recorded negative $5 million in new construction, which Property Appraiser spokesman Robert Rodriguez said was due to demolition of existing properties.

Bay Harbor Islands actually saw the highest increase in the county for existing properties, with values up 12.6 percent. With the new-construction loss, the village’s overall growth notched back to 11.9 percent.

▪ Key Biscayne managed to deliver a more valuable portfolio of new construction than Miami did, according to the Property Appraiser’s office. The oceanfront village recorded $552 million of new construction in 2014, compared to $465 million for Miami. The taxable value kicks in once a building is completed, and Garcia said he expects Miami’s ongoing construction boom to have its great effect in the 2016 and ’17 rolls. He linked much of Key Biscayne’s new value to a 153-unit condo tower where each apartment sells for more than $3 million a piece.

▪ Miami-Dade’s budget writers received good news on multiple fronts. For the suburban county taxing district made up of unincorporated areas, which rely on Miami-Dade for municipal services, values are up 6.1 percent. The forecast increase was 5. The taxing district for Miami-Dade’s library system grew 8.6 percent, compared to a 5.5 percent forecast. A district that funds county rescue services grew 6.9 percent, instead of the 5 percent forecast in the county’s five-year financial plan published in October.

▪ Miami-Dade’s school system should see an even bigger gain. It collects taxes from a larger base of property value than does the county itself, largely because school funding is exempt from certain taxing districts that cut into the county’s tax rolls. The school system’s taxing district saw values grow 10.6 percent.

▪ Sun Life Stadium’s ongoing renovation work hurt the numbers in Miami Gardens. The city saw a modest 3.1 percent gain, but would have recorded a 4.2 percent increase if not for a $40 million deduction for new construction.

Cameron Benson, city manager for Miami Gardens, said he was slightly disappointed in the modest increase but glad to see a growth trend continue. The city had a 2.6 percent gain from 2013 to 2014.

“I’m happy with the growth,” he said, “but I was hoping for larger growth.”

The Property Appraiser’s office said the negative new-construction figure was from Sun Life’s $400 million upgrade, which will include a partial roof and all-new seating. Benson said a major redevelopment of the former Calder Race Course hurt the numbers, too, but that the math will reverse itself in the coming years.

“We won’t get the benefit until those things are completed,” he said.

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