Homestead numbers decline slightly, not rapidly as thought

Was Anna Maria Island founded on tourism? Or is it a residential paradise?

A popular belief among some island residents is property owners — particularly longtime residents — are selling their homesteads to investors and leaving the island. And developers are creating more and more vacation rentals.

The facts are more complicated, and they don’t necessarily support the popular assumption.

According to the Manatee County Property Appraiser’s Office, the number of homesteaded properties on Anna Maria Island declined by just 13 from 2002 to 2012.

Information from Sharon Barhorst of the PAO showed there were 2,138 homesteads in 2002 and 2,125 in 2012, a drop of less about one-half of 1 percent. It’s not quite the decline some would think.

But, during the same period, the number of non-homesteaded properties rose considerably.

Barhorst reports 4,759 non-homesteaded properties on the island in 2002 and 5,482 in 2012, an increase of 13.1 percent.

Residents qualify for a homestead exemption if they reside in their home a minimum of six months and one day, among other requirements.

According to the PAO 2012 year-end data, Anna Maria Island had 2,152 homesteaded properties and 5,482-non-homesteaded properties. That would mean 72.1 percent of all island properties are non-homesteaded, Anna Maria Mayor SueLynn said.

“I think the 72 percent figure reflects the reality of what we have on the island. We are no longer a residential community, but an island of rental properties,” she said.

Non-homestead properties might be rentals, second homes or seasonal homes for property owners.

The mayor noted the PAO figures are to the end of 2012. “It will be interesting to see what happened to homesteads in Anna Maria in 2013,” she said.

Bradenton Beach Mayor Bill Shearon said he was “pleasantly surprised” to see homesteaded properties in his city increase in the decade, but noted the jump of 34 percent in non-homesteads.

He said he thinks many are the result of condominiums converting to vacation rentals. Several resort motels have converted to condominiums the past decade, he said.

One of Shearon’s concerns is that as more rentals become available, tourism and traffic to Bradenton Beach increases, particularly in the winter season. Additionally, his city must deal with vehicular traffic passing through, to and from Longboat Key, which has no direct access to the mainland.

“When the Cortez Bridge goes up, it creates havoc at the Gulf Drive-Cortez Road intersection. Traffic backs up almost to the Longboat Pass Bridge. I know it’s a nightmare for motorists, especially those coming from Longboat Key,” Shearon said.

In Holmes Beach, Mayor Carmel Monti said the increasing number of non-homesteaded properties is a concern.

“I don’t think there’s any question in our city that developers have bought homes and converted them to multi-bedroom rentals, particularly in the duplex zone. It’s one of the issues we’re dealing with,” Monti said.

“We’re also dealing with traffic in the city center at the Gulf Drive-Marina Drive intersection. It’s no secret that seasonal traffic creates some major backups at that intersection.”

All three mayors agreed on one issue: As tourism continues to grow on the island, developers will continue to buy properties and convert them to rentals.

“That’s where the money is,” Shearon said.

The following graph illustrates how homesteaded properties fluctuated from 2002-12:

Anna Maria Homesteads

2002             2012           gain/loss       percent

577               563             -14               -2.4


Anna Maria Non-Homesteads

2002             2012           gain/loss       percent

989               1089           100              +10.1


Holmes Beach Homesteads

2002             2012           gain/loss       percent

1,316            1,285          -31                -2.4


Holmes Beach Non-Homesteads

2002             2012           gain/loss       percent

2,598            2,823          +225             +8.7


Bradenton Beach Homesteads

2002             2012           gain/loss       percent.

245               277             +32               +13.1


Bradenton Beach Non-Homesteads

2002             2012           gain/loss       percent

1,172            1,570          +398             +33.9


Homestead, up to $50,000

According to the Florida Department of Revenue, every person who owns and resides on real property in Florida on Jan. 1 and makes the property his or her permanent residence is eligible to receive a homestead exemption up to $50,000. The first $25,000 applies to all property taxes, including school district taxes. An additional exemption up to $25,000, applies to the assessed value between $50,000 and $75,000 and only to non-school taxes.

The exemption is granted, based on state rules, after application to the county property appraiser.

Other exemptions may apply, including for age, disability, widows and widowers, blind persons, veterans and more.



One thought on “Homestead numbers decline slightly, not rapidly as thought

  1. Mike

    Is it just me? I really have a hard time trying to figure out what the local government is trying to do.
    I’m my opinion there are a powerful few that want to keep tourists out and traffic down. They do not care about local businesses and what the future looks like for the people of AMI.
    We have already discovered that that there are very few noise and trash complaints on the island yet some continue to argue it’s out of control.
    Now we have numbers that show the Homestead numbers are down by only 2.4% over ten years. I’d say that’s pretty darn good.
    I can’t figure out for the life of me, why some want to devastate the local economy and why business owners of all sectors are not banning together to get some of the nonsensical members of local government out.

    There seems to be no clear evidence under which to change the rental laws in AMI but if it did pass, nearly every business sector of AMI will suffer.
    Taxes will go up as tax paying rental owners move out. House values will go down, shops and restaurants will close, builders, renovators and trades will all be forced off the island to find work.
    It will become depressed like many other small American cities, most of which would kill to be in the enviable position of AMI with a thriving economy.

    I fail to see how this is a good news story for those individuals that claim to care about the island but only make recommendations that will devastate it.

    What’s next, get rid of the pesky turtles on the beach or those slow moving manatees out of the ocean. Maybe they will ticket those that cause chaos on the beach when they stop to watch the dolphins frolic in the ocean.

    Seriously…WHAT NEXT!!


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