Black Friday for taxpayers

By Rod Haxton, editor

Black Friday is usually thought of as the official start to the holiday shopping season.

It could take on another meaning for Scott County taxpayers. That was also the day that property tax statements arrived in local mail boxes.

The good news for residential property owners is that the increase is generally smaller than in past years and could reflect a trend that county appraiser Randy Sangster anticipates will last for several years.

Of course, as with all property, it’s about location.

Home values in high-end neighborhoods increased an average of seven percent while values in other areas increased as little as two percent. The average for most homeowners was 3-4 percent, according to Sangster.

Two and three years ago, home values were increasing at about a 10-12 percent clip.

“The increase in new home construction is an indication that the cost of purchasing an existing home is catching up with the cost of building a new home,” notes Sangster. “Those who can afford it will probably build rather than buy.

“For awhile you could buy cheaper than you could build, but not anymore. It’s a toss-up.”

 

Sangster anticipates that home values ranging between $100,000 and $200,000 will see annual valuation increases in the 2-4 percent range for the foreseeable future.

That forecast, however, could be altered significantly based on property taxes and bank interest rates.

Because local units of government have been able to hold down mill levies for the last few years that’s had a positive impact on home sales.

The total levy for Scott City residents in their latest tax bill is 203.367 mills - an increase of 1.6 percent from a year ago.

Likewise, Sangster says low interest rates have also made home ownership possible for more people.

“If you see mill levies going up, people become a little concerned. But, if interest rates increase things will come to a screeching halt,” Sangster says. “If interest rates go up, people have to pay less for a home because they only have so many dollars available.”

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