Island homesteads in slow — not rapid — decline

Some island elected officials have expressed alarm that Anna Maria Island is losing permanent residents at a rapid rate.

While the 2010 census reported a decline in the island’s permanent population, figures from the Manatee County Property Appraiser’s Office show the drop in homesteaded properties the past 15 years on the island is not as steep as some assumed.

Anna Maria Mayor SueLynn agreed the numbers don’t spell out the steep decline she thought was occurring, but she still has concerns for the city’s loss of homesteaded properties.

While Anna Maria lost 62 homesteaded properties from 1998 to 2013, and Holmes Beach lost 182 homesteaded properties, Bradenton Beach increased its number of homesteads from 253 to 268 in the same 15-year period.

The property office reported 2,293 homesteaded properties islandwide in 1998 compared with 2,065 for 2013, a decline of 9.9 percent.

“But when it is people I’ve known and expected to retire here permanently, then they leave, it’s a concern,” the mayor said.

The mayor also is worried about the number of vacation rentals in the city.

“It just seems like all new construction in the past few years on a vacant lot has been for a vacation rental,” she said.

SueLynn observed the city has more than 1,100 non-homesteaded properties and 542 homesteads.

She said she anticipates the number of non-homesteaded properties to gradually increase in the coming years.

The mayor noted that while the MCPAO gave her its figures for 2013, the MCPAO said it works one year in arrears counting homesteaded and non-homesteaded properties and determining taxable value.

The figures given SueLynn and for this report were as of Jan. 1, Sharon Barhorst of the MCPAO said. They are the figures used to compute taxable value for the 2013-14 city and county budgets.

“So we could have even more vacation rentals than we believe, and maybe fewer homesteaded properties than we think,” SueLynn said.

The city will get new tallies in January from the property office.

Between 1998-2013, the property office reported these figures for homesteaded properties on Anna Maria Island.


Homesteads            1998      2013

Anna Maria               604        542

Bradenton Beach      253        268

Holmes Beach       1,436     1,254

Island homesteads in slow — not rapid — decline

10 thoughts on “Island homesteads in slow — not rapid — decline

  1. Jane

    … “It just seems like ALL new construction in the past few years on a vacant lot has been for a vacation rental”…. – This comment is not true…. “But before the politicians jump to conclusions, why don’t actually find out before speaking out”? I Agree! I believe a well informed Person, with the facts to back them up can be most admired/powerful. Take the time time to do your homework (facts are the key to popularity).
    Nice observation!

  2. Nancy

    It always surprises me when I learn that local politicians have taken action without completing their due diligence, but yet it continues to happen on Anna Maria Island.

    The above article states the clear hard facts of the no so rapid decline of homesteaded properties in Anna Maria, as well as the mayors admission that “the numbers don’t spell out the steep decline she thought was occurring”
    At the same time it was stated; “But when it is people I’ve known and expected to retire here permanently, then they leave, it’s a concern,” the mayor said.
    Really???? It’s a concern when someone or somebodies she expected to retire here and they didn’t leads her to believe there was a steep decline?
    Also; “It just seems like all new construction in the past few years on a vacant lot has been for a vacation rental,” she said.
    Seems like is a BIG difference from actually digging in and researching the numbers.

    Let’s think about it for a minute…..

    There was and has been a crack-down by both the tax county collector’s office as well as city hall employees “on people who have been renting single family homes for less than three months, but failing to pay “bed tax”. A number of these properties have homestead exemptions and are violating Florida law” (2006 Islander Newspaper)
    Again in 2011 Island Newspaper – “Inspections are uncovering evidence of non-compliance with city ordinances and state law, with some owners misrepresenting their rental property as residences, not paying the 5 percent tourist tax or illicitly obtaining homestead exemptions.”
    Oh once more in 2013 Islander Newspaper, “As for the homestead discrepancy, it would be illegal for one person to have two properties homesteaded”
    That was great work by the city hall staff and the county tax payers office, which led to a lot more properties coming under compliance with local laws and regulations!!!
    BUT it also corrects the actual data whereby previously homesteaded properties are removed and actually listed correctly now as rental properties.
    Well what do you know! We have a decline in homesteaded properties!
    While I am not suggesting all decreases have been due to the crack-down, the present data above certainly doesn’t suggest a decline, especially when you put two and two together.

    As for the vacant lots all being developed as rental homes? I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them were. But before the politicians jump to conclusions, why don’t actually find out before speaking out?

    Come on Anna Maria Politicians you’re smarter than that!
    Please carry out your due diligence before acting on your personal subjective opinions. You often lead so many astray for no reason and you waste the tax payers money by focusing on non-issues.

  3. Trish Clarke

    We are Canadian and have been vacationing on AMI for over 20 years. My parents and grandparents before them wintered in the Bradenton area and I’ve been coming annually for almost 50 years. We love the island and have of course noticed the changes and what’s been happening. Even though we don’t own property and only rent, we treat the island as our beloved home and our daily beach walks have turned into daily “pick up the garbage left by tourists” walks. We talk to the locals and hear their concerns, read the papers and see what’s happening. It would be such a shame to lose that unique quality that is AMI and I believe that putting a stop to any more building along the beach – which cuts off the views and ocean breezes and implementing a longer stay rental policy would definitely be in the island’s best interest.

  4. Shirley Pulfer

    We are also Canadian & have enjoyed AMI for several years. We always stay a minimum of one month & have urged our friends to try AMI. We will stop doing that because we now feel ‘crowded’ on AMI. I agree with the above comments. We first checked it out because it was advertised as ‘old style Florida’. It is such a gem & it should not be lost due to its own success.

    1. Terry L

      I agree completely with the previous comments. As a property owner who is Canadian I of course can’t homestead, or vote, but my property is a family home for the time we are allowed to be there. I suspect there are several more single family homes with long term seasonal or foreign residents who are taxpayer but don’t show up in the demographics correctly and likely feel the same way as we do…let’s put a stop to week lend and short term rentals with an enforced minimum rental now! FYI we have been annual AMI winter visitors since 1978 so we have really seen the changes.

  5. Jane

    Hi, I’ve been coming to Anna Maria for 8 years, and the first visit bought a wonderful little home on this beautiful island. Someday very soon this will be my permanent home! I come from a Large City so people, and crime, as such makes Anna Maria look like heaven..:)
    My Opinion is because of the promotion of the Island as a resort, instead of a community to live, has resulted is decline of homesteads, unfortunately and this will continue. Your rentals are daily, weekly and monthly. If you chose to enforce a monthly minimum stay, maybe that would curb the resort, stigma. When visitors come for a weekend, they come to enjoy the island for a few days. but unfortunately with that visit you incur loitering, parking issues, crime(because money flows fluently when you on vacation, right) and the bad guys know this. Because these visitors Don’t Live here, some of there attitude is to play and enjoy the Island, and leave. They want to “get there money’s worth”, greed has a tendency to do that to people.
    I believe the city government has to decide how to curb this issue, before its really gets out of hand. There are visitors/residents that want to make Anna Maria there permanent home, as opposed to a weekend jaunt. Maybe a longer minimum on rentals, just might have the people/visitors that want a quiet, safe, clean area to vacation with there family! and maybe there future home!
    Please note I stressed some/few people make it a problem for everyone else..(this is not intended to offend)

    1. Paula Olivero

      Thank you Jane for your commentary. I totally agree. I too have purchased a small place on the island with the intent to move to the island as a permanenet resident upon retirement. An equal amount of time and effort should be given to bestowing the wonders of living on the island as well as monthly rentals.

    2. Carl

      Well said. We also bought on the island with the intention of making it our home. I have to admit we are reconsidering after witnessing the increased crowds of the past few years. The Chamber of Commerce has accomplished their goal of increasing tourism but we have paid a price. Maybe increasing the rental taxes would control the growth a bit.


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