See how much Palm Beach County home, apartment prices will rise next year

Gary Nikolits (Damon Higgins/The Palm Beach Post)

Gary Nikolits (Damon Higgins/The Palm Beach Post)

Palm Beach County home values rose 8.97 percent last year and should increase by 7 percent to 9 percent this year, says Palm Beach County Property Appraiser Gary Nikolits.

During a presentation Thursday to the Economic Forum of Palm Beach County, Nikolits predicted a “softening” of home values.

“That’s fine, because it’s a much more normal market,” Nikolits said.

Apartment values soared 16.2 percent from Jan. 1, 2015, to Jan. 1, 2016, and Nikolits predicts another big year for apartments as vacancies stay low. The same goes for commercial properties, which rose 11 percent last year.

Meanwhile, Nikolits said he’s perplexed by the premium prices investors are paying for office space. Nikolits didn’t name properties, but the Esperante Corporate Center sold in July for $126 million, or nearly $500 a square foot. Phillips Point sold last year for $246 million, or $546 a foot.

“We’re trying not to determine everyone else’s assessment based on what a few fools are paying,” Nikolits said.

Nikolits, a six-term property appraiser who’s retiring and not running for re-election this month, also chided local elected officials for imposing tax increases on their residents. Among the 52 taxing districts in the county, 44 will collect more property taxes by not cutting tax rates to offset increasing values, Nikolits said.

Nikolits labeled as “good” the eight taxing districts that are rolling back rates. Most of them are tiny municipalities such as Cloud Lake, Glen Ridge, Gulf Stream and Highland Beach.

The “bad” include such large organizations as Palm Beach County and the cities of West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Wellington, Jupiter and Palm Beach Gardens.

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