Combined property values in the Florida Keys grew by an estimated $1.3 billion in a year's time to an overall approximate value of $21.32 billion, the Monroe County Property Appraiser's Office reported this week.
"We've seen steadily increasing sales prices of real estate, primarily driven by the single-family home market," Property Appraiser Scott Russell said Tuesday.
The estimated $21.32 billion is the highest countywide valuation since 2009, when it stood at $22.3 billion.
However, the increase remains notably below the Keys' peak countywide valuation of $28.5 billion at the peak of the real-estate boom in 2008.
By 2010, the countywide valuation had plunged to $19.5 billion.
"The market is improving and we're slowly getting it back through sales and higher property values," Russell said. "It's been increasing since 2012."
Coldwell Banker Schmitt's Real Estate Report notes that 747 property sales were made in the first three months of 2015 throughout Monroe County, a 27 percent jump from the same period in 2014.
"Sales increased in all Keys markets" in the first quarter of 2015, the Schmitt report says. "The Lower Keys led with a 38 percent rise... Key West was up 36 percent."
The report continues that there were 2,426 properties on the market at the end of March, down from the 2,867 in March 2014. "This is the single most important measure of the continued improving market and we anticipate the decline in inventory to continue."
Keys single-family homes account for 57 percent of the county's taxable value, Russell said.
The 2015 assessment numbers released this week to local governments for budget planning remain tentative, pending corrections and Value Adjustment Board rulings. Any corrections are not expected to have a substantial effect for the budgeting of taxing entities.
Local governments use the property values to estimate tax rates for their respective areas. Final budgets and tax rates will be set by late September.
Key West property values increased by about $408 million from 2014, reaching an estimated $5.98 billion currently.
The Monroe County School District has a $22.99 billion taxable base, owing to fewer property exemptions. That is up $21.25 billion in 2014.
Other value estimates for municipalities and special districts and one-year increases:
- Monroe County Commission: $21.29 billion, up $1.3 billion.
- Marathon: $1.97 billion, up $136 million.
- Islamorada: $2.8 billion, up $172 million.
- Key Colony Beach: $587.9 million, up $304 million.
- Layton: $49.24 million, up $87,000.
- Key Largo Fire and Emergency Medical Services District: $2.582 billion, up $162 million.