Panama City Real Estate

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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Flanked by abundant natural beauty, an oak-lined St. Andrews Bay, and a pristine Gulf shoreline, Panama lies roughly midway between Tallahassee and Pensacola on the Florida panhandle. The area is ideal for those wanting to get away from the sprawl of urban concrete and city skylines. With 37 parks and two full-service marinas, deep-sea fishing boat charters, tennis courts, and nature trails, there is no shortage of recreational opportunities for young and old, resident and visitor.

Complementing the almost unsurpassed natural environment and outdoor community facilities is the Panama City's community emphasis on the arts. Groups such as the Friends of the Library, the Historical Society, and the Bay Arts Alliance--to name only several--have added and continue to add a tremendous amount to the lives of area residents. Entertainment and nightlife in Panama City runs from Las Vegas style shows at the Breakers to jazz, blues, and polka nights at the Boar's Head Restaurant, and much more.

Whether you're thinking about a winter home, a place to retire, or the ideal community to raise a family, Panama City is a wonderful choice. As with the rest of Florida, there is no personal income or inheritance tax and a retail tax of six percent. As far as real estate taxes are concerned, home owners benefit from the state's Homestead Exemption Act, which cuts down on taxes on the first $25,000 of assessed property value. What's more, Bay County has one of the lowest millage rates--that is, property tax rates--in Florida, about 6.8472 mills per $1,000.

Panama City and greater Bay County

Incorporated in 1913, Bay County--population about 150,000 at the last census--is unchartered and encompasses 753 square miles of land and 108 square miles of water. Panama City--population about 37,000 at the last census, median age 37, well educated, and culturally fairly diverse--is the county seat. The county government, which is the commission/manager style, offers no garbage collection services (leaving that to city and town governments). Utilities are provided by Gulf Power, People's Gas, AmericaGas, Bell South, and St. Joseph Telecommunications. Cable television is provided by Knology and Comcast. County medical facilities include Bay Medical Center, Columbia Gulf Coast, and Tyndall Air Force Base Hospital.

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