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As homes sales show growth, Amendment 4 supported by realtors

6:16 PM, Sep 20, 2012   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Homes sales across the First Coast and the state shot up last month in what could be the start of a trend following years of turmoil in the housing market.

The Northeast Florida Association of Realtors said in August, sales were up locally two percent from last year and the median price home shot up 4.8% when compared to last August.

Two indicators are being viewed as encouraging. Home inventory dropped by 4,000, meaning there is a 5.7 months' supply of homes which is considered normal. Another factor seen as a plus is that 15.6 percent of homes sold for a higher price than listed.

Across the state, sales for August were up 11 percent and pending sales -- deals that did have not closed yet -- were up 40 percent from a year ago.

Realtors are the driving force supporting Amendment 4, which would give first-time home buyers an additional homestead exemption. That measure also includes capping at five percent -- instead of ten -- increases that owners would face on non-homesteaded properties.

The additional homestead exemption in Duval County would give first-time home buyers a tax break of about $2,100, according to Duval County Property Appraiser Jim Overton.

Florida Realtors believes the amendment would be a big plus for the economy.

"This amendment would create 20,000 jobs in Florida and be an incredible economic stimulus," said John Sebree, VP of Public Policy for Florida Realtors.

The Florida Association of Counties says the impact of the property tax break if approved could top $2 billion. The Association broke down the revenue loses for each county, with Jacksonville projected to take in $7 million less next year, and in four years, $22 million less.

That group says the amendment would likely force local governments to make cuts in basic services like fire and police.

First Coast News

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