ST. LUCIE COUNTY— The same factors that drove property values up last year continued to play a role in an even further spike this year, Property Appraiser Michelle Franklin said Friday.
New construction, high demand for single-family homes, home renovations and an influx of people moving here — partially fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic — led to a 14% increase in all real property value, totaling $29 billion, according to 2022 preliminary estimates.
The estimated tax roll — released by June 1 each year — gives the county, cities and school district a base to start budgeting for the 2022-2023 fiscal year. Values are assessed on each property for calendar 2021.
2021 June 1 estimates: St. Lucie County property values increase by 8%
2021 July 1 tax roll: St. Lucie property values top $25 billion
April real estate: Median sale prices soar, Martin’s topping $600,000, as homes fly off market
The increase was expected given rapid population growth, inflation and booming development here, County Administrator Howard Tipton said.
“One of the things we’re wrestling with right now is the amount of development that we’re seeing and the amount of growth we’re seeing, it’s really starting to put pressure on the services that we can deliver,” Tipton said.
Before July 1, Tipton plans to recommend lowering the tax rate by at least 0.2 mil to the County Commission. However, it will not be reduced lower than the rollback rate — which would generate the same amount of money as this budget year, he added.
In Fort Pierce, property values increased 11.5%, to an estimated $3.2 billion. St. Lucie Village also saw an overall taxable-value increase of roughly 14.5%, to an estimated $87.9 million.
Port St. Lucie saw the largest increase in the county with property values spiking by 19% to an estimated $15.8 billion, according to preliminary estimates.
“Port St. Lucie has so much vacant land in comparison,” Franklin said. “So, they have the ability to grow with new construction greater than the other areas within our county.”
Tradition especially is one community where growth and development are booming and property values continue to rise, she added.
Furthermore, the Southern Port St. Lucie area near Morningside Drive and Westmoreland Boulevard saw property values go up largely due to home repairs, upgrades and even pool installations rather than new construction, Franklin said.
That trend also was seen in Fort Pierce between 25th Street and U.S. 1, along South Beach on Hutchinson Island and throughout Lakewood Park in unincorporated county.
“It’s typically older homes that have been rehabbed and are now selling at a higher percent,” Franklin said.
Additionally, St. Lucie beaches and its prime location between large central Florida cities like Orlando and other South Florida metropolitan areas like West Palm Beach has attracted more people to move here.
“We’ve had more portability, meaning people taking their homestead and tax savings from one house to another this year than ever before,” Franklin said. “We are approaching 3,000 of them here in St. Lucie County…meaning they either moved within St. Lucie County or they moved from another Florida county to St. Lucie.”
In 2021, more than 1,000 households moved here from Broward County and about 1,700 from Palm Beach County, according to property appraiser data.
In addition to high demand for single-family homes, commercial properties also contributed millions to the early estimates.
For example, Cleveland Clinic’s purchase of two medical office buildings in Port St. Lucie brought in more than $22 million in taxable value, according to property appraiser data.
Other commercial developments Franklin expects to be large contributors to next year’s tax roll include Cheney Brothers distribution center in Legacy Park, which received some temporary tax breaks, and Stonemont’s 1.1 million-square-foot logistics center at the Orange Avenue and South Kings Highway intersection.
Olivia McKelvey is TCPalm’s watchdog reporter for St. Lucie County. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org, 772-521-4380 and on Twitter @olivia_mckelvey.