Property valuation booms in Lehigh | News, Sports, Jobs
Predictions that the COVID pandemic would impact southwest Florida property values have been proven wrong – and more so.
Last year, Lehigh Acres saw a surge in the overall property valuation that the community has not seen since the economic downturn in 2008.
Lee County, which recorded an overall increase in taxable valuation of 6.3 percent, and Lehigh, which in the Lehigh Acres Fire District saw an increase of 9.71 percent, achieved record ratings.
The total taxable valuation of Lehigh properties in the district rose to $ 5.53,360,000, according to Lee County’s preliminary tax registers prepared by the Property Appraiser’s Office and released Tuesday.
It is the first preliminary estimate conducted under the direction of new real estate appraiser Matt Caldwell after Ken Wilkinson left that position after 40 years.
Lee County saw a total taxable increase of 6.30 percent on an estimated home valuation of $ 94.93 billion, down from $ 89.30 billion.
The taxable assessment of the school district provides for an increase of 6.72 percent.
Housing growth is increasing nationwide, with the city of Cape Coral leading the way.
The total taxable valuation of properties in Cape Coral rose to $ 18,180,505,000, of which $ 611,298,077 was from new buildings, according to preliminary tax assessments.
Caldwell said housing was the catalyst of the boom, with Cape Coral being one of the biggest benefactors with 92 percent housing.
“That was an open question last spring when the world was locked and working from home impacted commercial real estate, but demand for residential real estate soared.” said Caldwell. “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 had a higher Preliminary Estimated Percentage Increase in Taxable Rating of 10.96 percent.
The city of Fort Myers expects the taxable valuation to rise by 9.03 percent; the city of Sanibel, up 2.57 percent; the city of Fort Myers Beach with 3.62 percent, the city of Bonita Springs with 4.65 percent and the village of Estero with 2.93 percent.
In the Bayshore Fire District in North Fort Myers, the overall taxable valuation rose an estimated 6.29 percent, while the overall valuation of properties in the North Fort Myers Fire & Rescue District rose an estimated 4.66 percent.
Caldwell said Lee County will see a correction in the market at some point, but nothing like 2008 was seen.
“Nothing goes on forever, but this run is different because the last one was fueled by speculation, people building houses with no buyers.” said Caldwell. “This time around, we seem to have a real demand from people coming to Southwest Florida from other states.”
The real estate appraisal firm will continue to refine the valuations, with final numbers expected to be available on or before July 1. These numbers have traditionally been slightly higher than the preliminary June 1 estimate.