FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – The cost of a house in Broward County has been accelerating, and that means some new homeowners are getting sticker shock when they get their property tax bills.
"It's a lot of money for sure," says Robert Walsh.
Walsh downsized from a bigger Plantation home and moved to a Fort Lauderdale duplex two-and-a half years ago.
"My taxes then were $5,000 and now they are $13,000," he says. "It's one reason I got a duplex to help pay my taxes, insurance and utilities."
He's not alone.
We looked at the assessment on a CBS4 employee's home in Fort Lauderdale. The house was bought at the end of 2020 as prices were rising. Market value the was $207,000 and taxes were $2,100. In 2021 the market value ballooned to $318,000 and his taxes one year later more than doubled to $5,700.
"The single family homes here are ones existing a long time and there is nowhere else to build," says Broward County Property Appraiser Marty Kiar, explaining the factors leading to higher assessment and ultimately soaring tax bills.
Inventory is one factor and Kiar says the surge of people wanting to relocate here spurred in part by no personal income tax, is another reason why prices keep climbing.
"There are a lot of cash buyers. We are having the biggest rise in real estate since 2005, 2006 and 2007," he said.
You can challenge your property tax bill by filing a petition with the value adjustment board and get a hearing before a magistrate.
Kiar also tells homeowners to be sure they are getting all the tax breaks available to veterans, widows and seniors, and to take advantage of the homestead exemption.
Also after your initial big jump in taxes, your rate will stabilize because under "Save Our Homes," as the tax rate can't go more than 3% yearly.
Still, Walsh is concerned about the future.
"It's becoming unaffordable, but that's the price we pay. When you see the beautiful weather, who wouldn't want to live here," he said.
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