As the housing market improves in Elbert County, the number of foreclosures has dropped, but the improvement in the market will most likely mean increased taxes for a majority of Elbert County property owners when they receive their 2015 …
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As the housing market improves in Elbert County, the number of foreclosures has dropped, but the improvement in the market will most likely mean increased taxes for a majority of Elbert County property owners when they receive their 2015 revaluations next month.
“We've only opened five new foreclosures the first quarter of the year versus 16 last year,” said Rick Pettitt, treasurer/public trustee. “Compared to four years ago, when I came in, we had over 300. We're talking 25 per month.”
Pettitt, who presented his quarterly report to the Elbert County commissioners on April 22, said other counties in the state are seeing a similar trend.
“Talking to some of the other treasurers and other trustees, they are seeing the same statistics. Foreclosures are way down compared to what they have been,” Pettitt said. “That's a good sign for the economy and for the people in the county who are not having to sell their homes because they are unable to make their payments.”
According to Billie Mills, Elbert County assessor, the median property value in the county has risen 10 percent over the past two years.
“The valuation for Elbert County performed very well in terms of value levels and equity,” Mills told the commissioners during her quarterly report at the meeting.
The property revaluations are based on 1,028 market transactions occurring within Elbert County during a 24-month collection period from July 1, 2012, through June 30, 2014. The largest increase occurred within the Parker ZIP code, where the median valuation rose 13.6 percent. Properties within the Bennett zip code showed the smallest increase at 3.5 percent.
“We measure performance based on standards set by the State of Colorado and by International Association of Assessing Officers,” Mills said. “These are standard guidelines for mass appraisal valuation.”
Though the average value of property within the county rose, Mills stressed that this does not automatically translate into higher reappraised values or a 10 percent across-the-board increase for all property owners.
She also cautioned that the rates are median valuations, and said that some property owners may see higher valuations despite not having made improvements to their properties.
“A property's valuation is assessed compared with the most comparable sales for location and the characteristics of the property,” Mills told the commissioners. “All sales have been amended and adjusted for time to June 30, 2014. The reappraisal is designed to estimate the fair-market value of all the properties in the county and uses all available property characteristics and market data.”
Property owners can expect to receive their 2015 notices of reassessment in May. The notice comes with a form allowing them to protest their revaluations. Protest forms must be either postmarked or received by the assessor's office no later than June 1. The assessor's office will follow up on all protests with a notice of determination.
Mills was not able to comment on how a countywide increase in value will translate in terms of revenue for the county's general fund, but said her office is working on those estimates.
“We will, later on, have a report from my office that gives you those figures,” she told the commissioners.
Under state law, counties are required to revalue properties every other year.
Home values increase
Median percentage changes in property values for Elbert County by zip code:
Agate: 8.5 percent
Bennett: 3.5 percent
Calhan: 8.7 percent
Deer Trail: 5.3 percent
Elbert: 7.8 percent
Elizabeth: 12.0 percent
Kiowa: 5.2 percent
Limon: 9.2 percent
Matheson: 9.1 percent
Parker: 13.6 percent
Ramah: 7.8 percent
Simla: 7.7 percent
Valuations are based on market transactions in Elbert County occurring between July 1, 2012, and June 30, 2014.
Source: Elbert County Assessor's Office
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