Predictions that the COVID pandemic would impact Southwest Florida property values ââhave been proven wrong – and then some.
Over the past year, Lehigh Acres has seen the kind of increase in the overall property valuation that the community had not seen since before the 2008 economic downturn.
Lee County, which saw an overall taxable assessment increase of 6.3%, and Lehigh, which saw a 9.71% increase in the Lehigh Acres Fire District, produced figures of record valuation.
The total taxable appraisal of Lehigh’s properties in the district was $ 5,53,360,000, according to preliminary Lee County tax roll values ââproduced by the office of the real estate appraiser and released on Tuesday.
This is the first preliminary estimate made under the direction of new real estate appraiser, Matt Caldwell, after Ken Wilkinson retired after 40 years.
Lee County saw a 6.30% total taxable increase with an estimated property valuation of $ 94.93 billion, up from $ 89.30 billion.
The school district’s taxable assessment envisions a 6.72% jump.
Residential growth is boosting numbers across the county with the city of Cape Coral leading the way.
The total taxable assessment of the Cape Coral properties was $ 18,180,505,000, including $ 611,298,077 from new construction, according to preliminary assessments of the tax roll.
Caldwell said residential was the catalyst for the boom, with Cape Coral, 92% residential, being one of the biggest benefactors.
“It was an open question last spring as the world went into lockdown and working from home impacted commercial properties, but demand for housing skyrocketed,” Caldwell said. “We capture that strength in these numbers and expect the numbers to be higher next year as we continue to see strong appreciation.”
Only San Carlos saw a higher preliminary estimated tax assessment percentage increase, to 10.96 percent.
In terms of taxable assessment, the City of Fort Myers is considering a 9.03% increase; the city of Sanibel with an increase of 2.57%; the City of Fort Myers Beach an increase of 3.62 percent, the City of Bonita Springs an increase of 4.65 percent and the Village of Estero an increase of 2.93 percent.
In the Bayshore Fire District in North Fort Myers, the aggregate assessed value increased by approximately 6.29%, while the aggregate appraisal of properties in the North Fort Myers Fire & Rescue District increased by approximately 4.66% .
Caldwell said that at some point Lee County will experience a correction in the market, but nothing like 2008.
“Nothing lasts forever, but this race is different because the last one was driven by speculation, people building houses without buyers,” Caldwell said. “This time around, we seem to have a real demand from people from other states in Southwest Florida.”
The Office of the Real Estate Appraiser will continue to refine the appraisals, with final figures due out no later than July 1. These numbers have traditionally been slightly higher than preliminary estimates for June 1.