After a few years of decline, the Duval County property appraiser says home prices are on the rise again -- good news for the homeowners and city leaders.
"It's an indication that the economy is turning around," Jacksonville City Council member Robin Lumb said. "I live in Riverside and I see we have had a substantial uptick in the selling price of houses per square foot. That indicates to me part of the value people have lost they are starting to recover."
Property Appraiser Jim Overton said tax revenue estimates show property values in the city could be up by $626 million this year.
"The market is better than it was before in Duval County. New construction numbers are up and there is a lot of apartments being built. A lot of new houses are getting constructed right now," Oveton said. "The market is still spotty. A lot of foreclosures; almost half the sales we are seeing are still foreclosure or bank assisted sales. It's a spotty market, but its a much better market than it was last year."
That could add up to $16 million more in tax revenue without increasing taxes -- something City Council has had to do two years in a row in order to balance the city budget while property values were dropping.
"It's great to see things heading in the right direction," said City Council member Greg Anderson. "You saw us last year really struggle in trying to balance the budget. So there are some great things happening."
It couldn't come at a better time as the city is facing a pending settlement with the Police and Fire Pension Fund that could cost the city $40 million additional each year.