Broward property values rise 7.2 percent

With Broward property values rising, tax bills might go up, too. Among the expenses Broward County will use rising tax income for is added security at the Broward County Courthouse.

Broward County property values exceeded expectations this year, rising 7.2 percent, another sign of the rebounding real estate market.

Broward Property Appraiser Lori Parrish released the annual tax roll Friday, posting the third straight increase after the real estate bust and Great Recession. This year, all of Broward's 31 cities improved in value.

The increase surpassed early county estimates of below 4 percent, and Parrish's preliminary forecast a month ago of 6.4 percent.

Increases were highest in Lazy Lake, Hollywood, Coconut Creek, Tamarac, North Lauderdale, Oakland Park and Hallandale Beach, all of which rose in value 8 percent or more. Wilton Manors surpassed them all with a better-than-10-percent increase.

While property owners might be pleased their values are rising, the downside could be rising property taxes. Some officials have already announced plans to keep tax rates steady, which would result in larger payments for those whose values rose. Those decisions will be made at budget hearings in September.

For instance, Broward County plans to keep its tax rate the same as last year, using the increase in tax income to give raises to employees, improve mass transit and strengthen security at the county courthouse, among other things. The money also would allow Broward Sheriff Scott Israel to increase his budget by $27.9 million, a 7.1 percent increase.

If the county rate remains the same -- $572.30 for every $100,000 of taxable home value -- a $280,000 home with the average increase in value would pay the county about $1,718 in taxes, an increase of about $115.

Officials in some cities said they'll use additional tax income to restore some of what they cut during the tough years. But this time they have the benefit of experience.

"This is definitely not the time to pop the champagne corks, and go on a shopping spree,'' Hollywood Mayor Peter Bober said in an email. "The reality is we should continue being cautious and conservative in our expenditures. We should continue prioritizing public safety, gradually restoring slashed employee benefits, and modernizing the city's aging housing stock.''

Miramar Mayor Lori Moseley said the city can "speed up some of the maintenance projects that we had to slow down because of the economic downturn,'' but should "continue on a fiscally conservative road.''

Property owners can find their valuations online at bcpa.net, the Property Appraiser's website. Property owners have until Sept. 17 to file appeals.

Broward's strong showing this year was mirrored by the flanking counties. Miami-Dade reported a 6.5 percent preliminary estimate, with just a few cities — Opa-Locka, Florida City and Medley — still declining.

Palm Beach County's taxable values rose 7.4 percent to $139.6 billion — nearly the same as Broward's — with every city showing a value increase.

Even with the large increase this year, Broward's $141 billion tax roll remains far beneath the 2007 peak, when the taxable value hit $175 billion. Soon after began a descent marked by foreclosures and local budget cuts.

The recovery began a year earlier in South Florida than in the rest of the state, with values beginning to climb again in 2012, state data shows.

bwallman@tribune.com or 954-356-4541

How values increased

CITY or AREA / PERCENT INCREASE

Broward County: 7.2 percent

Unincorporated Broward: 3 percent