St. Johns County property values going up

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. - Property values appear to be going up in St. Johns County, enough to bring in nearly $1.5 million in additional tax dollars for the county.

Realtor Barbara Maple is having an exceptionally busy day today.

"I am working with three different contracts right this minute on three different houses," Watson Realtor Barbara Maple said Wednesday. "All of them have multiple offers on them."

One of those contracts belongs to Jane Chadwick, who had been starting to get discouraged.

"We priced it very competitively 'cause I wanted to sell it right away and was kind of surprised that we got no offers," said Chadwick, who's selling her home.

But now, Chadwick is discovering her house is in the middle of a hot-selling community -- Sawgrass.

"I have a multiple offer, and they're both good offers," she said.

Preliminary numbers show St. Johns County property values rose $271 million over last year, about 1.2 percent. It's the first sign of positive growth since the bottom fell out of the housing market.

"So when we heard the initial report, we were pleased. It's good news overall," said Jesse Dunn, of St. Johns County Office of Management and Budget.

Property appraisers attribute a lot of that growth to brand new communities like one in Palencia, which includes a new school -- another big draw to the county.

As far as other counties go, Duval is still crunching the numbers, but the property appraisers there say they are encouraged by only a slight reduction expected for property value, less of a reduction than they've seen over the last few years.

There's also a positive prediction In Nassau County, with the auditor saying "all indications, we are in a rebounding market."

And in Clay County, values appear to have stabilized and a reduction isn't anticipated.

But any Realtor will tell you a bump in St. Johns County is a good sign for everyone. It's a sign things are headed in the right direction.

"It's so great after several years of disappointing looks on sellers' faces when they're not selling their house as quickly as they thought they would," Maple said.

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