A commercial and residential construction boom, which continued during the second year of the pandemic, helped boost Marion County’s 2022 property value to the highest level ever, according to a preliminary estimate released Thursday.
The value of local property increased by 14.02% to $28.01 billion in 2022, surpassing the previous high mark of $24.62 million last year.
The 2022 tally marks the third straight year that Marion County’s tax roll was the highest ever. In 2020, the tax roll was $22.55 billion, eclipsing the previous $22.35 billion record set in 2007, according to the Marion County Property Appraiser’s Office.
The overall preliminary taxable property value is projected to be $3.47 billion higher than the final value for 2021. There has been a $5.46 billion increase in taxable property value in the past two years combined. That is an increase of 24.21% in two years.
Jimmy Cowan, the county’s property appraiser, said several large commercial projects were added to the rolls. The valuation growth has also been fueled by a brisk uptick in construction in commercial and residential projects.
Taxing authorities — such as the School Board, the County Commission, city councils and water management districts — will use the final value to help set budgets and establish millage rates for their 2022-23 budgets.
Building boom continues
The School Board uses the full $28.01 billion value to calculate its budget. It uses the higher value because it is not bound by the additional $25,000 homestead exemption that many homeowners can claim.
Also, the district is not bound by the 10% annual cap on increased value of non-homesteaded property.
The value used by the Marion County Commission for its general fund is $24.89 billion ($2.8 billion more than last year), up from $22.09 billion in 2021, the preliminary data shows. The County Commission increase is projected to be 13%.
Since 2013, when the county property value was $15.36 billion, the value has increased by 82.4%.
Leading up to the beginning of the national recession in 2008, an over-inflated market led to a housing bubble. In response, property values crashed.
Before the recession, Marion property values rose by 71.1%, from $13.1 billion in 2005 to $22.35 billion in 2007. After the recession took hold in 2008, property values nosedived 31.3% to $15.36 billion in 2013.
Big ticket items added
Cowan said several big commercial projects were completed in 2021 and added to the tax roll.
There was $693 million in new construction, remodeling and additions added in 2021 for the 2022 tax roll. That’s about the same as in 2021 and up from $500 million on the 2020 tax roll, $480 million on the 2019 tax roll and $325 million in 2018.
Officials said for the third year in a row the World Equestrian Center was among the leaders in adding taxable property value. Officials said $40 million more was added to the tax roll in 2021 due to the opening of the WEC hotel.
Here are the other big ticket property values added in 2021 for the 2022 tax roll:
- Highpoint at Stonecrest, an independent assisted living center, $24.5 million;
- Veterans Affairs community hospital building, which is privately owned, $8.7 million;
- Signature Brands, $5.6 million;
- Golden Ocala mobile home park, $4.7 million.
The balance of the tax roll increase, or about $1.86 billion, was due to smaller commercial buildings and rising values of homes throughout the county.
Residential growth exploding
Residential growth continues to be strong. The average sales price for homes rose by 31.1% in one year, according to the latest numbers released by the Ocala/Marion County Association of Realtors.
Overall, the boom is due to both commercial and residential growth. In southwest Marion County alone there have been nearly 20,000 homes, apartments and townhomes that have been approved by county and city officials.
The average sale price of an existing single-family home rose from $268,564 in March 2021 to $342,856 in March this year. In March, the average price rose 31.1% year over year to $342,856.
In 2007, Marion County and city governments approved 7,749 home permits. In 2021, the number was just shy of 5,000.
“So we’re not to the amount of new construction we had back then, because back then if you could breathe and had a job, you could get a loan back,” Cowan said. “So I mean, it’s completely different now and I think a lot of people are paying cash now, too.”
Big increases across the board
All of the taxing districts logged increases in taxable property value, according to the early estimate.
The lowest increase among the 19 taxing units was 0.26% in the City of Ocala’s Downtown Development District C. In the City of Ocala’s Downtown Development District A, where the Hilton Garden Inn was built and added for 2021, there was a 11.4% year-over-year increase.
Besides the city’s development districts, the largest increase was the Marion Oaks MSTU, which had a 26.8% increase.
The City of Ocala as a whole had a property value increase of 11.54%, the data shows. The City of Dunnellon had a property value increase of 7.8%, while Belleview gained 12.90% and McIntosh gained 8.57%.
Help needed for demand
Before the housing bust in 2007 and 2008, the Marion County Property Appraiser’s Office had 75 employees.
During the recession, when home building all but stopped, that number dropped below 50 employees. Last year Cowan had only 55 employees to do appraisals. Cowan said he can only get approved for new employees through the state Department of Revenue.
Cowan said building permits through Marion County are soaring. And as Marion County and City of Ocala building officials sign off on those permits, the Property Appraiser’s Office must go out and reassess the values.
Cowan, who has worked for the office for nearly three decades and was elected as property appraiser in 2020, said that before the recession, the office could barely keep up with demand. After the recession, the building all but stopped.
“You figure that the average employee doing 20 properties per day, it’s hard to catch up,” Cowan noted. “We can’t just go and just add positions. We have to go to the Florida Department of Revenue to request positions and that doesn’t happen overnight.”
Contact Joe Callahan at 867-4113 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JoeOcalaNews
Property value in each of the 19 taxing districts increased, according to the early estimate. Here is a highlight of the major taxing authorities.
Marion Oaks MSTU: 26.8%
Silver Springs Shores MSTU: 11%
Marion County EMS/Fire: 13.87%
Marion County Law Enforcement: 13.73%
City of McIntosh: 8.57%
Marion County: 13.00%
Marion County Public Schools: 14.02%
Rainbow Lakes Estates/MSTU: 12.06%
City of Dunnellon: 7.8%
Town of Reddick: 8.9%
City of Ocala: 11.54%
City of Belleview: 12.90%