The sting of reassessment

From the Wall Street Journal:

Homeowners Wage a Tax Rebellion
Rising Property-Value Assessments Drive Up Appeals as House Prices Decline
April 28, 2007; Page B1

Falling home prices and rising property-tax assessments are fueling a grass-roots tax rebellion.

From coastal Florida to the shores of Hawaii, homeowners are lodging record numbers of appeals, fighting against rising assessments that are, in many cases, pushing up annual tax payments significantly.

The problem: Tax assessments didn’t keep pace with soaring property values in recent years. Now, assessments are catching up at the worst possible time, just as property prices soften. In theory, municipalities are supposed to roll back tax rates to offset rising property assessments. But many don’t do it regularly, or do so to a lesser degree than they should, says Kenneth Wilkinson, the appraiser for Lee County.

“In today’s market, I’d be lucky to get within $30,000 or $40,000 of my assessed value,” says Jack Shearer, a real-estate broker in Fort Wayne, Ind., who a month ago began the process of appealing a recent reassessment that valued his home at $245,000. Mr. Shearer says he brokered the $185,000 sale of a house in his neighborhood four months ago, yet the assessed value on that house recently came in at close to $220,000.

That is leading to “sticker shock,” says Stacey O’Day, Allen County’s assessor. The system “is capturing in one swoop the increase in market value that happened over five years.”

It is happening despite the fact that lawmakers in states such as Florida, New Jersey and Nebraska are proposing to cut property taxes or cap increases, or are offering rebate checks to homeowners to take some of the sting out of rising property reassessments.

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10 Responses to The sting of reassessment

  1. njrebear says:

    “Shearer says he brokered the $185,000 sale of a house in his neighborhood four months ago, yet the assessed value on that house recently came in at close to $220,000”

    Well, if you hold the property for ‘long’ enough, value will go back to 220K! Real estate always appreciates.

  2. Pat says:

    Can you imagine if it’s a looooong time, though?

    Paying the extra taxes on a your overvalued POS dreamhouse? How many people will do it, how many will request reduction, and how many will try to sell?

    State wins, no matter what, because some will just pay the extra, right?

  3. Sally says:

    Actually your right it dose seem home prices go up forever ..

  4. James Bednar says:

    Thanks for posting that Sally, it clearly shows that housing prices fell in NJ during the last bubble.

    The Northeast slump in 90’s

    New Jersey
    1990 $207,400
    2000 $170,800

    1990 $208,000
    2000 $185,700

    New York
    1990 $168,100
    2000 $148,700

    The Texas oil slump

    1980 $77,400
    1990 $76,100

  5. James Bednar says:

    Also, CT.

    1990 $227,200
    2000 $166,900

  6. njrebear says:

    So you agree that these bagholders … hmm ‘investors’ should stop complaining about property taxes, correct?

  7. Sally says:

    your right ,nothing goes straight up ,from 1990 to 2000 houses took a breather only to return with a vengeance in 2001 until..?

  8. njrebear says:

    A monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type or create a particular chosen text…..

  9. njrebear says:

    “New Jersey
    1990 $207,400
    2000 $170,800 ”

    if you call a drop from 342K (210K adjusted for inflation for 10 years) to 170K a ‘breather’ then we are on the same side. we are also looking for a 30-50% breather :)

  10. JC says:

    My town went through a reassessment last year based on prices September-October 2005. The county only hears appeals between February and April. This means that I wouldn’t even have comps on which to base an appeal till February 2008.

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