By Ron Wolfe

The SouthShore community is made-up of the six major recognized communities of Apollo Beach, Gibsonton, Riverview, Ruskin, Sun City Center and Wimauma.

Each has a distinct cultural heritage and there is a vast difference in the number and value of each platted single family home.

It follows that the average household income and purchasing power varies among these six communities. The average market value of each single family home is often a reflection of the economic status of each resident.

Purchasing a home is often the largest single financial decision a family will make during their lifetime. While shelter and security provided by a homestead is important, property owners are also keenly interested in purchasing a home that will increase in value over their years of ownership.

Now that SouthShore (formerly South County) has been discovered by developers with major single family home building plans, the quantity, quality and value of housing products will dramatically increase. It will be interesting to chart this growth during the next five years.

Beginning in January of each year our Hillsborough County Property Appraiser counts and determines a fair market value for each parcel of property. This becomes the basis for assigning an assessed value for calculating ad valorem taxes.

During the period from 1999 to 2003 the following changes in platted single family homes took place in SouthShore.

The number of parcels increased from 16,545 to 19,629, an increase of 3,084 or 18.6 percent.

The total market value increased from $1,364,072,788 to $2,454,354,175, an increase of $1,090,281,387 or 79.9 percent.

The average SouthShore parcel market value increased from $75,954 to $116,711, an increase of $40,757 or 53.7 percent.

The fewest number of single family parcels is Wimauma at 568 and Gibsonton at 694.

The greatest number of single family parcels is Riverview at 7,713, followed by Sun City Center at 5,610.

The lowest average parcel market value is Gibsonton at $78,860, followed by Wimauma at $98,479.

The highest average parcel market value is Apollo Beach at $185,415, followed by Riverview at $123,171.

The dramatic increase in SouthShore property values is likely to continue. In fact, the rate of property appreciation and the spiraling cost of new construction will make it more difficult for lower income families to purchase a home. If SouthShore is to benefit from the economic expansion coming our way, we must find a way to provide more affordable housing for SouthShore workers.

If we fail to do so, new businesses and the expansion of existing businesses may not take place and residents of SouthShore may find it necessary to patronize businesses outside the SouthShore area.

Send letters to: THE VOICE of SouthShore, P.O. Box 476, Ruskin, FL 33575-0476. Phone: 813-273-8976.

E-mail: Ron@thearjaygroup.com.

Web site: http://www.buysouthshore.com.

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