More on property taxes

Not to belabor the points Amy and I have made recently about the south Florida housing market and property taxes, but it just so happens there was another article on the subject today that kind of backs up our argument that the problem is that the market is overpriced, not that taxes are too high.

See, Amendment 1 was supposed to provide not only "much needed tax relief," it was supposed to also allow people to get out of their current houses and into new ones without taking a massive hit. The problem, realtors and the people who listened to them said, was that people could afford to upgrade if only their tax payments would stay close to the same. Portability was all anyone talked about. Well, how's that working out, especially in terms of the current market?

TALLAHASSEE - For South Florida's sluggish housing market, one word became shorthand for the magic elixir to get buyers and sellers on the move again: portability.

But in the six months since it was approved by voters, fewer than 1,200 homeowners in Broward and Palm Beach counties have applied for the tax advantage in a two-county market with more than 1 million residential properties. About 7,000 more will see savings from portability, but they changed homes in 2007, before portability was approved.
The realtors still don't see it, though.

"Unfortunately, the credit crunch hit at the same time as portability," said John Mike, president of the Realtors Association of the Palm Beaches. "If we weren't experiencing that, portability would be really, really impressing people. It will work for us yet, I'm utterly convinced of that."
Sorry, John. The credit crunch came in large part because of bloated housing prices and mortgage brokers who would give just about anyone a loan, even if the borrower had no chance of paying it back. Portability isn't going to fix that, and thanks to both the mortgage industry and folks like you who were cashing commission checks as quick as you could, lots of people won't be able to use that portability option because they'll be upside-down on their home loans, assuming they don't go into default first.

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