The City of St. Cloud saw the greatest property value increases across Osceola County in the past year, according to preliminary tax roll data released Friday by Property Appraiser Katrina Scarborough.
She told GrowthSpotter that property values and rents have stabilized, and the county's tax roll grew by 5.5 percent in 2015 -- a slight decrease from the two previous year period, when it increased a total of 13 percent. New construction added $752 million to the tax base.
"There's a lot of stuff going on, but it's mostly residential and the big mega-vacation homes," she said.
The Four Corners area is by far the county's hottest market. Scarborough said Reunion Resort added nearly $50 million in new construction last year, and Lennar added $55 million at ChampionsGate in just the area formerly known as Stoneybrook.
In St. Cloud, the tax roll went up by more than 6.5 percent to $1.57 billion. "It's not all annexations," Scarborough said. "About half of it is from new construction."
Nearly $54 million in new construction was added to the tax roll, and the city's existing property values increased by 2.8 percent.
By comparison, Kissimee's growth was fueled almost exclusively by its $70 million in new construction. The city's existing tax base grew by just a half a percent.
St. Cloud City Manager Joe Helfenberger said the city's population growth (it now exceeds 45,000 residents) should help attract more retail and restaurant development over the next few years.
"I think we finally hit a threshold where we will qualify for a number of restaurants and retail establishments that our residents have been asking for," he told GrowthSpotter.
City leaders are also eager to bring in more employment centers and will consider waiving impact fees for qualified industries, he said.
Scarborough said Osceola's commercial market is also recovering from the great recession, and rents are stabilizing.
"In some areas, it is going up slightly. It is not increasing drastically," she said. "There is less vacancy – which honestly anyone driving around can see. The Loop area is just booming."