Palm Beach property values leveling off?

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Palm Beach County property values began to level off last year after a more than three-year plunge, according to appraiser Gary Nikolits. Preliminary estimates now show the county losing between 1.5 and 2 percent in property tax revenues this year, down from the 5 percent loss Nikolits had predicted in January. That would mean an expected budget shortfall of $30 million, down from $50 million, for the next fiscal year. The numbers won’t be finalized until July 1, but whatever loss Palm Beach County sees will come in addition to the 10 percent declines in property tax revenues it saw it the previous two years. Though the market is still “horrible,” Niolits said “it just doesn’t look as bad as it did before.” The Realtors Association of the Palm Beaches, however, calling Nikolits’ numbers “absolutely ludicrous.” Bill Richardson, president of the Realtors group, said his data shows median sales prices having slipped 11.8 percent last year. [Palm Beach Post]