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Despite the pandemic, real estate values are up in 2020. Here’s why

Despite the pandemic, estimated taxable real estate values rose for most Miami-Dade municipalities and for all in Broward.

It’s a matter of timing. Under Florida law, property appraisals are conducted in January — before the pandemic first appeared in South Florida, sending jitters through the real estate market.

Even before the pandemic arrived, Miami-Dade’s luxury condo market had softened as a result of oversupply and a slowdown in foreign buyers as Latin economies wavered.

Still, new construction in both counties drove pre-COVID prices higher, according to county property appraisers. In Miami-Dade, preliminary estimated taxable value rose by 4.6% from $307.2 billion in 2019 to $322.783 billion in 2020. In Broward, it grew by 6.14%, from $199.042 billion in 2019 to $211.264 billion in 2020.

In Miami-Dade, municipalities with the highest overall increase in values including new construction were West Miami (12%), Florida City (11.2%), Hialeah (9.6%) and North Miami (9.4%). For existing housing, values grew the most in Hialeah (8%), Florida City (7.6%), El Portal (7.6%) and Biscayne Park (7.0%). All are municipalities dominated by mid-market housing.

Overall assessment values fell in five upscale municipalities: Bal Harbour (-4.2%), Aventura (-3.2%), Key Biscayne (-1.5%), North Bay Village (-1.5%) and Surfside (-0.3%). In the case of existing housing, values fell in Sunny Isles (-5.3%), Bal Harbour (-4.2%), Aventura (-4.1%), North Bay Village (-3.3%) Key Biscayne (-1.6%) Surfside (-1.6%), downtown Miami (-1%) and Golden Beach (-0.1%). All are dominated by luxury housing.

Dade homeowners can review their estimated assessed values online at

Taxable values inched higher for all 31 cities in Broward. Marty Kiar, Broward County’s tax appraiser, credits the increase to three trends in 2019, including population growth, new residential and commercial construction, and “there were a lot of properties that exchanged hands.”

West Park (9.33%) saw the largest increase, followed by Lauderdale Lakes (7.32%), North Lauderdale (7.22%), Lauderhill (7.02%) and Oakland Park (6.99%). Lazy Lake had the lowest growth (0.33%).

“West Park saw the biggest increase because a lot of people are moving there,” Kiar said. “Lazy Lake saw the lowest increase since its the smallest community. It has about 20 to 30 homes and covers only a few blocks.”

The good news: Higher tax values don’t necessarily mean higher property taxes. Those are calculated after counties determine millage rates.

The economic downturn and job losses may make it difficult for some homeowners to afford the increased property taxes but litigation is unlikely, said Tom Ringel, a founding partner at the Kendall-based law firm Markowitz Ringel Trusty & Hartog.

“If you think the assessment is unfair, the cost of litigation with attorney fees may be worth it for those $30 million-plus homes, but not for the $600,000 to $800,000 run-of-the-mill houses. The savings won’t be worth it,” Ringel said in May.

The hardest hit will be commercial real estate property owners, agreed Ringel and Nathan Mandler, a partner at the downtown Miami-based law firm Rennert Vogel Mandler & Rodriguez. Hotel owners, already suffering revenue losses from pandemic closures, may suffer most, Mandler said.

Miami-Dade property owners can file appeals. In Miami-Dade, they also can ask for quarterly payment plans.

Or there could be a legislative miracle. “You never know what can happen — the Florida Legislature may allow us to consider the pandemic for this year or there may be an executive order that would allow us to do so,” Kiar said.

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