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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Florida Homes Sales, Median Prices Up in November

Florida’s housing market continued its positive track in November, with more closed sales, more new listings, more pending sales and rising median prices

Florida’s housing market continued its positive track in November, with more closed sales, more new listings, more pending sales and rising median prices according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. Sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 19,990 last month, up 1.3 percent compared to November 2016.
“In November, Florida’s housing market reflected the trends we’ve grown accustomed to seeing throughout this year,” said 2017 Florida Realtors President Maria Wells, broker-owner with Lifestyle Realty Group in Stuart. “More owners decided to put their homes up for sale. New listings for single-family existing homes rose 1.8 percent year-over-year, while new listings for existing condo-townhouse properties rose 5.9 percent. However, even with the increase in new listings, inventory was still tight and buyer demand was great. Homes continued to sell quickly, resulting in increased pending sales – up 5.5 percent for single-family homes and up 9.3 percent for condo-townhouse units.
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The state of Florida was more economically diverse in the second quarter of 2017 compared to the same quarter in 2016, according to a quarterly report issued by Florida Gulf Coast University’s Industry Diversification Project. Florida ranked as the 20th most diverse state, up from the 24th recorded one year ago.
Of Florida’s 24 workforce regions, Southwest Florida ranked 10th. Among Florida’s 20 metropolitan statistical areas, Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island came in fourth, followed by Cape Coral-Fort Myers at seventh and Punta Gorda at 20th. Diversification index rankings are computed quarterly around the time of the release of workforce data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since the data is released with a six-month lag, the rankings refer to the state of the workforce for the second quarter of 2017, which spans April through June. Labor market data for the third quarter of 2017 will be released in March.  More information is available at


Florida has more homes under HOAs than any other state

Twenty-one percent of the U.S. population now resides in a community association, also known as planned communities (e.g. homeowners associations, condominium communities, and housing cooperatives), according to the 2016 National and State Statistical Review for Community Association Data (CAI), published by the Foundation for Community Association Research (FCAR).
Florida continues to lead the nation’s community association housing model with 47,900 associations – home to 9.6 million residents.
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Gov. Scott proposes $1.7 billion in environmental projects for Florida

Gov. Rick Scott was in Naples Monday to tout his eighth and final budget, one that includes $1.7 billion for environmental programs.
“This funding includes historic investments in our iconic springs, world-renowned Everglades, award-winning state parks and beautiful beaches, which is especially important following impacts by Hurricane Irma,” Scott said. “I am also proud to be recommending $100 million to preserve and protect our natural lands, including $50 million for Florida Forever. Our natural treasures are so important to Florida’s economy and tourism industry and the many families that rely on them.”

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“We’re Open For Business!” Florida Tells The World

NAPLES, Fla. – Oct. 9, 2017 – For most of September, Florida hoteliers and businesses catering to tourists battled Hurricane Irma and the havoc it wrought.
Now that October is here, they’re battling the perceptions it left behind.
“The early national media certainly painted a picture we were going to get hit very hard. People listen to that,” said Jack Wert, executive director of the Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention & Visitors Bureau.
From one end of Florida to the other, tourism professionals are using traditional and social media to get the word out: “We’re open for business.”
As bad as Irma was – displacing tens of thousands of residents, knocking out power to millions and being blamed for 72 deaths in the state – physical damage to the tourism infrastructure was not as bad as it might have been.
Even the hardest-hit of the destinations, the Florida Keys, officially reopened for tourism on Oct. 1.
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Focus turns to recovery after Irma’s exit

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Sept. 13, 2017 – More than 5.5 million homes and businesses in Florida remained without power at midday Tuesday after Hurricane Irma plowed through the state.

Food, water and gas deliveries were starting to return in Central and South Florida as the demand swells from returning evacuees. Airports started to provide limited operations. And the process of allowing people to return to homes was underway in most areas outside the storm-ravaged lower Florida Keys…
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Hurricane Irma – Update – Florida Impact

Having lived twelve years of my life in St Martin (which has been devastated today by Category 5 Irma) I have been following hurricanes for almost 25 years, being an Hurricane geek… collecting websites and data to follow the storms.
Tonight (11 PM EST) it seems the tracks trend to a Florida East coast impact from Miami to West Palm Beach and up to Jacksonville.
Naples, Fort Myers or Tampa are still in the projection cone because of the humongous size of Irma. We still need to be vigilant though…
Hoping and praying that the East coast will be spared by this catastrophic storm!