Vero’s property values continue to creep upward


After the epic increase in Vero Beach property values during the pandemic, home prices continued upward in 2023 and are still rising today.

Home sales prices went up at a much slower pace in 2023 than during the 2020-2022 pandemic housing boom, when many properties doubled in value in a year or two, but the pandemic values have not only held but crept a little higher over the past year.

“The market is still strong,” says Indian River County Property Appraiser Wesley Davis, who is in the midst of assessing the value of homes, commercial buildings and land in the county to give local governments an accurate basis for upcoming property tax bills and municipal budgets. “Volume is down, but I am not seeing any retractions in price.

“I’m keeping a close eye on properties that sell twice in a couple years, which can tell you a lot. I don’t see things selling for less. Prices appear to be stable or a little higher, which is right in line with what we expected.”

Online and local brokerage websites tell a similar story.

Countywide, the median sale price of a home in February was $385,000, up 13 percent from February 2023, according to online real estate behemoth Redfin.

Rocket Homes, another solid online source of real estate data, shows a median sales price in February of $375,000, up 8.7 percent or about $30,000 from a year earlier.

According to data compiled by Douglas Elliman and provided by Sally Daley, co-founder of Elliman’s island office, median list prices are up 18 percent, from $521,000 a year ago to $613,000.

The picture is a little more mixed in 32963, but still in line with Davis’s unofficial assessment. Three sources, including Redfin, Rocket and, show median sales prices ranging from about $1 million to $1.3 million for the island.

Redfin sees that as a 13 percent increase year over year, while Rocket reports a 1 percent decrease in the median sales price, with two- and four-bedroom homes up substantially (17 percent and 24 percent, respectively), while the numbers for three- and five-bedroom homes pull down the median.

As always, the island market is hyperlocal, with homes on one street notably higher than one block over in some cases, big variations between similar neighborhoods and drastic differences in value between new or recently remodeled houses with new roofs, impact resistant windows and “of-the-moment” style and features compared to homes that have not been brought up to 2024 market standards.

Based on last year’s calculations by the property appraiser’s office, the taxable value of land and buildings in Indian River County was $26,591,000,000, with an official “Just Value” of $45,800,000,000.

Homestead exemptions are the biggest reason for the discrepancy between taxable and just value. Most people are familiar with the $50,000 break residents get for a home they live in full time. If the appraiser values a house at $300,000, the owner only pays taxes on $250,000 if it is homesteaded. Just that protected value amounts to billions of dollars that don’t show on the tax roll.

But much more value is “concealed” by the Save Our Homes amendment to the Florida constitution that was approved by voters in 1992 and went into effect in 1994. That amendment and subsequent legislation limit the increase in taxable value for homesteaded properties to 3 percent a year, for the most part, and 10 percent a year for non-homesteaded properties.

In a booming real estate market like the one in the pandemic years, when property prices skyrocketed, a huge amount of untaxable value quickly builds up on the ledger.

Beyond that, there are still billions more in value that are not included in the just value, due to the velocity of the real estate market.

“As appraisers, we are looking in the rearview mirror, at what things were worth a year ago or longer,” Davis said.

The property value picture will become clearer this summer when Davis and his team come up with the latest numbers.

Between 2022 and 2023, the dollar value of property taxed to fill the county’s general operating fund jumped more than $3 billion, from $23.3 billion to $26.6 billion, a bracing increase.

When Davis’ final numbers come out in July, we will see home much more valuable the county is 2024 compared to 2023.

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