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Home / Articles / Real Estate / Happy Herald Realty /  Florida Real Estate News
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Tuesday, July 5,2011

Florida Real Estate News

 

Real Estate Florida Legislature Changes

It took five years and vigilant lobbying on the part of Florida Realtors and members of the Sadowski Housing Coalition, but the Legislature finally voted to remove the $243 million cap on the housing trust funds. This victory shouldn’t be taken lightly. Several times throughout the session, it appeared the trust funds would be eliminated altogether.

Ensuring that doc stamps will still be directed to affordable housing, their intended purpose, is a huge benefit to Florida families and the real estate industry. Credit goes to Rep. Gary Aubuchon (R-Cape Coral) and to Sen. Mike Bennett (R-Bradenton) for sponsoring HB 639 and SB 912.

This year, the Florida Housing Finance Corporation has $64 million for state and local housing programs.

Tax relief for non-homesteaders and first-time buyers:

Since the 2009 legislative session, Florida Realtors has sought to lower the annual assessment cap on non-homestead properties from the current 10 percent approved by voters in Amendment 1. The vehicles this session were two proposed constitutional amendments: HJR 381 by Rep. Chris Dorworth (R-Lake Mary) and SJR 658 by Sen. Mike Fasano (R-New Port Richey).

On Day 58 of the session, HJR 381 by Rep. Chris Dorworth passed after contentious debate on the Senate floor, with opponents saying the measure would perpetuate the inequities inherent in Save Our Homes and negatively impact local coffers.

If approved by voters in November 2012, the proposal would reduce the yearly assessment cap on non-homestead property from 10 percent to 5 percent. It would also give anyone who hasn’t had a homestead exemption in Florida for three years a property tax discount of 50 percent of the home’s assessed value, not to exceed the median home price in that county. This additional first-time homestead owner exemption phases out for the property owner over five years while their Save Our Homes is phasing in.

The measure also allows the Florida Legislature to prohibit assessment increases when property values fall. Currently, the Legislature does not have the power to prevent local governments from “recapturing” the tax revenues that Save Our Homes shields during a rising real estate market.

Property tax relief for wounded veterans:

Currently, disabled veterans who were Florida residents when they entered military service qualify for the combat-related disabled veterans’ ad valorem tax discount on homestead property. SJR 592 by Sen. Mike Bennett (R-Bradenton) goes before voters in November 2012 to extend this property tax benefit to any disabled combat veteran residing in Florida, regardless of where they lived when they entered military service.

 

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