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Our Town by William Kelly: Palm Beach’s taxable property values climb more than 9 percent

Taxable property values in Palm Beach rose an average of 9.5 percent during 2023, according to preliminary data released by Palm Beach County Property Appraiser Dorothy Jacks.

The increase elevates the town’s total taxable property value to more than $31.6 billion, according to Jacks’ report. Among the county’s 39 municipalities, Palm Beach is second only to Boca Raton, which stands at $37.3 billion.

Palm Beach County’s taxable values were up by an average of 9.1 percent to more than $315 billion, according to Jacks.

Jacks’ report includes the county’s municipalities and the unincorporated areas. It shows property values are continuing to climb throughout the county, though not at the double-digit percentage rate seen in the last two years.

“The overall increase in taxable values has slowed compared to previous years,” Jacks said in a news release. “Market values for some building types have begun to flatten in Palm Beach County.”

Palm Beach’s 9.5 percent jump follows much larger increases of 18 percent in 2022 and 13.3 percent in 2023.

“We are certainly seeing a reduction in the rate at which taxable values are increasing,” Bob Miracle, Palm Beach’s deputy town manager for finance, told the Palm Beach Civic Association Friday. “The increases have almost been cut in half in two years.”

Palm Beach is not immune to changes in the overall economy and housing market, he said.

“The number of home sales has greatly decreased in Palm Beach, with inflation and interest rates being so high,” Miracle said.

Jacks said she expects some of the older condominium buildings along the coast to be affected by a new law that requires homeowner associations to fully fund their reserves and, if necessary, undertake costly repairs. She said the values of some of those buildings are already starting to decline.

Westlake, the county’s newest municipality, established in 2016, had the highest growth rate in values during 2023, at more than 40 percent, according to Jacks.

County property appraisers assess all real property in their counties each year on January 1.

Tax bills don’t arrive until August. The amount of taxes Palm Beach property owners will pay depends on the tax rates set by the town, the county, the county school district, and the other local taxing districts. The town collects roughly 18 percent of the total property taxes paid in the town, Miracle said.

Local governments use the preliminary taxable value estimates to help plan their annual budgets for the fiscal year that begins October 1.

Palm Beach will release its preliminary 2024-25 operating budget around July 1, Miracle said. The Town Council will hold a budget workshop on July 11, beginning at 9:30 a.m. at Town Hall.

Final approval of the budget and property tax rate occurs each year at two public hearings in September.

About 60 percent of the property owners in Palm Beach have a homestead exemption, which caps their property tax increases at 3 percent. Non-homesteaded properties can increase by as much as 10 percent.

To view the property appraiser’s table of preliminary taxable values, CLICK HERE.

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