Friday, February 22, 2013

Phoenix-area Home Values Climb after 2011 Dip

The Republic | Thu Feb 21, 2013 11:02 PM

Most metro Phoenix homeowners will see the first increase in their property’s assessed value since 2007 when they receive their annual statement from the Maricopa County Assessor’s Office.
The median value of a house in metro Phoenix climbed almost 16 percent during 2012 after falling 7.6 percent in 2011.  The increase won’t surprise anyone who has watched the region’s housing market recover over the past 18 months. However, the overall increase in values for Maricopa County might be confusing because the overall median price of the area’s home sales climbed 34 percent in 2012.
“Our analysis is based on both home sales and the valuations of the even greater number of houses that didn’t sell last year,” County Assessor Keith Russell said. “If a house doesn’t sell, we don’t know if it has new carpet or plumbing, but we must still do the research to assess its value.”  The overall median value of single-family houses in the county climbed to $127,000 in 2012 from $109,600 in 2011.  Statements will be mailed to Maricopa County residents over the next two weeks, with the first group expected to receive their statements as early as today. About 1.5 million properties were valued by the county assessor during 2012.
In 2010, Maricopa County home values fell 11 percent. In 2009, property values dropped 15 percent. In 2008, they plummeted 23 percent, the biggest drop of the prolonged retreat in home values. In 2007, values declined 13 percent.  The property-valuation assessments being mailed out now will be reflected in 2014 tax bills. This year’s tax bills will reflect 2011 valuations.  Despite the drop in home values in 2011, homeowners shouldn’t count on a significant drop in taxes this fall. Many Valley municipalities and school districts still face budget gaps and could raise property-tax rates again this year.  Russell said the county’s residential assessments are conservative, so homeowners can expect to sell their houses for as much as 10 percent more.  Some Phoenix-area cities fared better than others.  Home values climbed the highest — 34 percent — in El Mirage and Youngtown. Tolleson homeowners saw a median increase of 33 percent. Those communities experienced some of the biggest drops in home values during the crash because of higher foreclosure rates.  Property owners can appeal valuations with the Assessor’s Office until April 23.
To appeal the 2012 assessment, go to assessor or call 602-506-3406.
A house’s value has to decline significantly through a reassessment to lower its property taxes, which fund municipalities, school districts and more. Tax bills cannot be appealed.

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