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Dream Big!

Florida: Still a Great Place to Live/Users/adamp/Desktop/Oct_Mag_pics/mailbox

The media has been pouncing on the downturn in real estate, the high price of insurance and rising real estate taxes. It amazes me how the lemmings are so easily moved to follow the latest sensationalism, making the downturn a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I keep seeing comparisons of property taxes in various states versus those in Florida; these make Florida look like one of the highest property tax states. But the complete story isn’t being presented.

We must make the media aware of how great a bargain housing is in Florida, especially compared to any other state that has great weather and such a massive coastline.

Gregory R. Baker
Prudential Transact Realty Inc.
Ormond Beach

Editor’s Note:  Florida ranked No. 37 in per capita taxes in 2005, as compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau. More info:

The Silver Lining
My, my, we have never seen the likes of this market in all of history. Well at least not in South Florida.

Fact is, South Florida is similar to the Arizona/Las Vegas markets, which also had an unprecedented rise in market value, and an unrealistic one at that. The rest of the nation enjoyed hefty property value rises while we here in So-Flo [South Florida] refinanced the profits out of our homes and went on our merry way.

Real Estate 101: Real estate is localized; thus, so are the values placed on property. This is why the same 2,500-square foot home is worth millions on the beach, yet you could only hope to fetch $150,000 [for it] in other parts of the state.

Somehow, we as professionals are in panic mode. This is simply part of the game and, yes, property values will fall—but not nearly as much as people think. An annual 8 percent rise in property value is fairly average. If we take 2001-2006 as the “Real Estate Boom Years,” then a $100,000 property in 2001 should be worth $158,687 today. You will find that in So-Flo most properties are still 20-40 percent ahead of that pace, meaning that the $100,000 property in my example is probably going for between $190,000-$220,000 today.

I hope this lifts some of your spirits.

Noel Padilla
Surreal Properties

Stop Taxing Snowbirds
If you kill the golden goose, you don’t get any more golden eggs. The snowbirds are spending their golden eggs elsewhere. We’d better get busy and lure them back with tasty tidbits.

I’m afraid those who have the right to represent us are more concerned with keeping voters happy short term than with long-term reality. No effort was made to educate the public to the fact that if we lose snowbirds, Mr. & Mrs. Public lose their jobs, and the state loses tax revenue that it ultimately must get from someone else—Guess who? That’s right, Mr. & Mrs. Public!

It doesn’t take much math to figure out that losing a $50,000 per year job hurts more than paying $200 more per year in taxes.

I’m in favor of tax revolt! We need to save ourselves. It’s obvious government at neither the state nor federal level works for the people anymore!

Ginny Blaine
Downing Frye Realty Inc.

Submit letters to “Editor” via e-mail to, mail to P.O. Box 725025, Orlando FL 32872-5025, or fax to (407) 438-1411.

Letters are edited for space and clarity. Publication of a letter does not constitute an endorsement of the writer’s views by the Florida Association of Realtors®.