Collier & Lee County Approved For Vacation Rentals

As of Tuesday morning, Fla. DBPR approved plans for 42 counties to safely reopen vacation-rental properties – an increase from 26 counties last Friday.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Part of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ response to the coronavirus pandemic was to authorize the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) to approve the reopening of vacation rentals based on plans submitted by counties. During the pandemic and until they received DBPR approval, those homes were been banned from accepting reservations or hosting renters after DeSantis signed an executive order in late March.

As of Tuesday morning, 42 of Florida’s 67 counties had received DBPR approval to reopen under safety guidelines set by each county. While those rules may be different, DeSantis set some general guidelines when he announced the change, such as prohibiting or discouraging renters from pandemic hotspots, such as New York or Louisiana.

Last week, however, the governor announced a reopening of vacation rentals, providing steps were taken to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and counties agreed to make sure those safety measures were followed.

Many counties quickly submitted approval plans following the announcement, and DBPR has quickly approved a number of them. On Friday, 26 counties had received DBPR approval, and that number grew to 42 only four days later.

FLORIDA POWER & LIGHT PLANS TO LOWER BILLS

 
Florida Power & Light (FPL) announced Monday in a letter to customers that it is taking the unprecedented step of asking the Florida Public Service Commission to allow the utility to fast-track a significant decrease in electric bills beginning in May, which would result in FPL’s average residential customer who currently pays about $96 each month, receiving a one-time decrease of nearly 25% on their May bill. Business customers also will see a significant one-time decrease in May. Click here to learn more. ​​​​​​​

Florida Listed No 8 in Kiplinger’s Most Tax-Friendly States

The study, which looked only at taxes, praised Fla.’s lack of income tax, “reasonable” property tax, homestead exemption and “average” state and local tax rates.

  • State income tax: None
  • Average state and local sales tax: 7.05%
  • Average property tax: $1,041 per $100,000 in home value
  • Estate tax/Inheritance tax: No/No

The Sunshine State is very popular with retirees, not just because of its forgiving climate but also because it has no state income tax. Sales taxes, though, can go as high as 8.5%, depending on where you live. The average combined state and local tax rate is 7.05%, which is about average.

Property taxes are reasonable in Florida. The average annual property tax on a $400,000 home in the state is $4,166, which is also average. Florida residents ages 65 and older who meet certain income limits can also receive an extra homestead exemption of up to $50,000 from some city and county governments and/or an exemption equal to the assessed value of the property, as long as the real estate has a fair market value of less than $250,000, the homeowner has maintained permanent residence at the location for at least 25 years, and household income does not exceed $30,174 in 2019. Any widow or widower who is a Florida resident may claim an additional $500 exemption as well.

You don’t need to worry about estate or inheritance taxes in Florida, either.
© 2019 The Kiplinger Washington Editors, Rocky Mengle

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Bloomberg: Florida, The Winner As The Wealthy Move South

According to a Bloomberg analysis of state-to-state moves based on data from the IRS and the U.S. Census Bureau, Florida saw a net influx of nearly 3% of the state’s adjusted gross income in 2016.

South Carolina, Idaho and Oregon also posted large gains, while the biggest declines were recorded by Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that about 10% of the population – about 35 million people – moves annually, usually within the same county, though about 5 million Americans move from one state to another.

“Florida’s powerhouse economy continues to churn out new jobs, retiree migration to Florida is on the rise, and millennials are coming into their prime home-buying years,” says Florida Realtors Chief Economist Brad O’Connor.

Migration also brings more money into Florida than it moves out. The average gross income of people moving to Florida from 10 states and Washington, D.C., exceeded $100,000, outstripping those of Florida natives who migrated to the reciprocal states.

The Sunshine State also benefits from a provision of the federal tax law that imposes a lower cap on state and local tax deductions – one of seven states that collect no income tax.
Source: Bloomberg (05/24/19) Miller, Lee J.; Lu, Wei

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Florida: Why You Should Vote “Yes” on Amendment 2

Amendment 2 preserves the 10 percent cap on annual increases of non-homestead property taxes that has been in place for the last 10 years. It is the only amendment on the ballot that does not change Florida law, and it prevents an estimated $700 million tax increase on the 2.2 million non-homestead properties currently protected in the state.

Over the past several months, Florida Realtors® has been hard at work explaining the benefits of the amendment and helping to educate voters on the need to pass it. But Realtors are not the only ones who understand its importance. Here are some excerpts from what a majority of Florida’s largest newspapers have to say:
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SWFL International Airport Reports Record-Breaking Traffic in September

RSW REPORTS RECORD-BREAKING TRAFFIC
During September, 418,256 passengers traveled through Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers (RSW), an increase of 27.7 percent compared to September 2017. Year-to-date, passenger traffic is up 6.3 percent from the same period last year. Southwest Florida International Airport reported 9,256,500 passengers for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, breaking all records in the 35-year history of the airport. The traffic leader in September was Delta Air Lines with 93,483 passengers traveling to and from Fort Myers. Rounding out the top five airlines were American (72,983), Southwest (66,667), JetBlue (60,934) and United (39,986). Southwest Florida International Airport had 4,043 aircraft operations, a decrease of 4.9 percent compared to September 2017. Page Field saw 7,952 operations, a 45.5 percent increase from September 2017. In addition, slightly more than 2.3 million pounds of air freight moved through Southwest Florida International Airport in September 2018.
©Gulfshore Business.

Florida Housing Market Continues Positive Track in Sept. 2018

ORLANDO, Fla. – Oct. 19, 2018 – Florida’s housing market reported more closed sales, higher median prices and more pending sales in September compared to a year ago – when Hurricane Irma struck the Florida Keys on Sept. 10, 2017 – according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. Sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 21,087 last month, up 17 percent compared to September 2017.
September was the 81st month-in-a-row (over six and a half years) that statewide median sales prices for both single-family homes and condo-townhouse properties increased year-over-year. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes was $251,610, up 4.9 percent from the previous year, according to data from Florida Realtors Research Department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations. Thestatewide median price for condo-townhouse units in September was $182,500, up 5.5 percent over the year-ago figure. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.
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Is Florida looking at a renter crisis if Amendment 2 fails?

Floridians will soon be considering a number of constitutional amendments that could drastically impact the state and its approximately 21 million residents. Chief among those ballot considerations is Amendment 2, which seeks to preserve the 10 percent cap on annual increases of non-homestead property taxes that has been in place for the last 10 years.

Non-homestead properties are properties that don’t serve as a person’s primary residence – and rental homes are one of the largest segments of non-homestead properties in Florida. According to the most recent Census estimates, rental homes house more than one-third of the state’s population currently – the highest amount since the 1980s.

“The really scary thing about Amendment 2 failing is the domino effect that will start to ripple through our communities, starting with our renters,” says Zach Sanchez, a broker for THINK Real Estate in Panama City Beach. “Many renters live on fixed incomes and don’t have much room in their budget to absorb a rent increase that is sure to come if property owners start seeing tax increases in excess of 10 percent a year.”

Florida voters approved the current 10 percent cap in 2008 as a way to solve an ongoing property tax crisis that was punishing non-homestead property owners and renters. According to data contained in a Revenue Estimating Conference analysis conducted in 2011, 30 percent of all non-homestead Florida properties were hit with an 80 percent tax increase in just one year – from 2005 to 2006. This meant a property valued at $300,000 in one year could be taxed at $540,000 or more the next. That same year, nearly 75 percent of all non-homestead properties in the state suffered an increase of more than 10 percent in value.

Vote “Yes” on Amendment 2!

Florida GDP hits $1 Trillion Mark!

ORLANDO, Fla. – July 16, 2018 – Florida’s gross domestic product topped $1 trillion Friday, an economic output that would make the Sunshine State the world’s 17th largest economy if it were an independent country, the state chamber said.

The milestone has been expected. University of Central Florida economic analyst Sean Snaith said the state has been strong in all areas of employment.
Florida’s economy has grown larger than Saudi Arabia’s, Switzerland’s and Argentina’s, the chamber said.
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Florida – Cities find new ways to regulate vacation home rentals

Thousands of vacation-home rentals in South Florida are being advertised online. So a software company is helping cities scour those sites to figure out which homes aren’t registered with local governments. The goal: to get them all registered and hold someone accountable if a party breaks out of control.

At least 17 of the websites feature Deerfield Beach properties, so the city’s hiring the company is a big help, said Eric Power, Deerfield Beach’s administration director. “We think it’s virtually impossible for [city] staff to do it on their own,” Power said.
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