Did you get your updated property values in the mail? The Buncombe County Commissioners requested the reappraisal back in 2016 and reassessments were mailed on January 27th, 2017.
Per theMountain Xpress, “Property owners in the city of Asheville will see the largest increases. Downtown has the highest increase with an average property value of 44 percent. Areas like North-West Asheville and Kenilworth are both looking at an average property value increase of 40 percent and, on the low end, South Asheville and Sand Hill properties are experiencing an average of 17 and 19 percent increases, respectively.
Outside of Asheville, the biggest increase will be seen in Woodfin and Weaverville, both with an average increase of 32 percent. Montreat and Sandy Mush come in with the lowest average increases, both at 3 percent.”
Here are a couple of things to know when reviewing your tax assessment.
What does it even mean?
Appraised value is derived from a licensed appraiser and is theoretically our closest interpretation of what a ready and willing buyer would pay for the house in today’s market. This can be swayed by supply and demand shifts as we have recently seen our community with more buyers in the market than available homes to sell. Generally this is our best indicator of what price the house may bring in the current market. It has been our experience that the actual selling price can be a bit higher than the appraisal. In function an appraisal is collateral assessment for the lender, essentially assessing their risk with the collateral as they evaluate the prospective financing and the candidate.
In my opinion, the tax assessment is the county’s method to assign a general idea of market value for assessment purposes and creating a tax basis funds to work from. This number historically is lower than a market value and done so intentionally to make it less sensitive to market fluctuations over the typical assessment period of 4 years and the aforementioned supply/demand spikes. Typically, this assessment is done every 4 years and, in Asheville, we skipped at least one assessment over the last 10 years because of volatile market conditions (recession), if I recall correctly. As you may have deduced, in an appreciating market we found ourselves moving substantially between assessments and creating that difference in tax value. Though hard to swallow, I believe the increased value is necessary as it truly is, by design, a representation of approximate value. We have seen actual market values move up tremendously during the past assessment period which has created countless examples of our clients buying less than 4 years ago and selling for $60k-$100k more in today’s market. It starts to actually make sense that we would have dramatic adjustments from a county standpoint.
To most effectively understand your assessment and to understand the value increase, it is important to make sure the information is accurate. We had an example in our own office where the square footage of a home was listed incorrectly on the new bill and this accounted for a dramatic increase in the assessment amount. If there is an inconsistency between your county specs and your actual home, this is something that should be appealed. There should be an appeal form attached to your notice but you can also follow this link to learn about the processand it’s deadlines or call the county at 250-4940.
Its understood that lower assessment values cost less therefore are preferred, but hopefully this helps as you try to stomach the increase.
There are also some social casualties of this increase. It is our diversity that accounts for most of the influx of people to the area and we are in many cases becoming unaffordable for these people. We realize this is a predictable and, sometimes unavoidable, result of appreciating markets. There has to be some more socially conscious ways to grow without alienating the very people that make Asheville what it is. We will address this in a future blog, but the downside of appreciating markets is gentrification. We need to work to find options for those people who are affected and sooner rather than later.