The "Save Our Homes" Cap
The "Save Our Homes" (SOH) Amendment in Florida's Constitution was intended to prevent homeowners from being taxed out of their homes due to rapidly rising real estate values. It met that goal, but caused many other problems along the way. The Good News: The SOH cap limits increases in the assessed value of a homesteaded property to no more than 3% per year -- regardless of how much more the property increases in market value. Because of this, Florida law favors owners who stay in their homesteaded property for many years. The longer you stay and the more your property rises in market value, the more you save. The Bad News: If you sell your home at current market values and buy a new home, today's higher property values will likely cause your annual property tax bill to double, triple or quadruple even if you buy a comparable (or, possibly, even smaller or older) residence nearby. That fact alone causes many of us to stay put -- financially "locked" in our homes -- because we cannot afford the high property taxes if we move.
Property Appraiser Lori Parrish supports adopting a new constitutional amendment allowing homesteaded owners to move their sheltered SOH value from one primary residence to the next one in the same county under a governmental "local option." This concept is named PORTABILITY. Here is how it could work: Your current home has a market value of $300,000 and a SOH assessed value of $175,000 -- meaning the difference ($125,000) is the amount sheltered by SOH. If you sell that house and buy a new one for $325,000 (and qualify for homestead), your initial assessment for property taxes would be just $200,000 (the math: $325,000 Market Value minus the $125,000 portable SOH differential). It wouldn't be retroactive, but -- if Florida's voters approve the amendment -- portability could provide freedom and tax relief for many families.
If you support this idea, please contact your State Senator and State Representative to urge them to approve legislation placing this proposed Save Our Homes Portability Amendment on the November 2006 statewide ballot.