Florida Property Tax Revenues are dropping due to the lower values of homes throughout the state. Local governments have no choice but to cut hours for workforce. In a sign of the times I wake to a headline that the town of Wellington, Florida has approved a shift to a 4 day workweek. This is something that is being seen across Palm Beach county, the state of Florida and parts of the United States as the dramatic drop in home values is pressuring budgets everywhere. While this isn't news to those of us in the real estate and mortgage industry, the effects will be widespread and maybe long lasting. The article in the Palm Beach Post mentioned that the tax rate was increased to $2.50 from $2.34 per $1,000 in home value, overall the total revenues dropped with the lower values suffered by most of Palm Beach County.
One of my concerns has to do with the services we expect in Palm Beach County and the state of Florida when we need inspectors to provide a quick turnaround on required permits, re-inspections and title documentation. We count on these functions to help us provide financing for buyers that want to close on a new home or refinance their existing home. When we have delays, rate locks can expire or closings that are in a chain can cause multiple transactions to fall apart. Many homes have additions or conversions that were not done with the proper permitting and trying to get these matters straightened out can be very time consuming. The reductions is workweek hours will just make the process even more challenging.
Even quality of life issues like the Wellington Villages Gym and local parks will be cutting hours. The move will be for a trial period of 6 months but I fear that we will need to get used to the new normal. Higher taxes and reduced services may be here longer than anticipated. Like much of life these days in South Florida and throughout the state of Florida we wake up each day and hope for the best but prepare for the worst.