Clay County home prices skyrocketed; now prepare for higher taxes

Julie Morgan

The average sale price of residential properties in Clay County increased in 2021 between 17 and more than 32 percent.

Keystone Heights saw the most significant increase at 32.54 percent. Middleburg had the next largest increase in average sale price from $238,000 to more than $286,000. Comparatively, Orange Park home buyers were hit with the lowest increase at 17 percent.
Provided by Clay County Property Appraiser Office

Even though home sale prices are not precisely equal to taxable value, this is where the property appraiser’s office starts when valuing each year. The equation to determine how much you pay in ad valorem property taxes is taxable value x millage rates = taxes.

“The 2022 preliminary taxable value of all properties in the county is estimated at $14.6 billion – an annual increase of more than $1.6 billion, or 12.83 percent,” said Tracy Drake, Clay County Property Appraiser. Properties are assessed on Jan. 1 of each year. The bill you receive in the fall is based on data from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2021. “Therefore, the overall increase in value is a reflection of the upward direction the real estate market has taken during 2021.”

It is important to note that even though “market values have increased to record levels,” properties with an existing homestead exemption have a 3 percent increase cap, and those “non-homestead residential and commercial properties” are limited to a 10 percent increase.

The Clay County property appraiser’s office has started the process of preparing the Notice of Proposed Property Tax Forms, also known as the TRIM notice. The TRIM notice is not a bill, but “it is intended to notify property owners of proposed changes that may appear on the November tax bill.”

Drake says the TRIM notice is important to read because it contains key pieces of information.

Taxing Authority Information: The TRIM notice displays last year’s final millage rates and resulting property taxes and this year’s proposed maximum millage rates and taxes. Also displayed are the dates, times, and locations of the public hearing for each taxing authority.

Property Appraiser Value Information: The notice also displays prior and current year information specific to property valuation and any applicable exemptions, classifications, or assessment reductions.

Property owners should look out for the TRIM notice next month. Drake says his office expects to mail TRIM notices on Aug. 19. However, before the notice can be sent, each taxing authority in Clay County will need to verify the proposed maximum millage rate no later than Aug. 4.

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