Well, the For Sale sign two houses down is still up, months now since my neighbors moved out.
I use the house as a barometer. Homes in my neighborhood used to sell in weeks, sometimes days. But the recession has caught up with Orange County, says tax Administrator Jo Roberson.
In Today's Chapel Hill News, Roberson says homes are staying on the market longer. From Jan. 1, 2009, to Oct. 31, 2010, sales toaled 2,178. From Jan. 1, 2005, to Dec. 31, 2006, a similar period after the last property revaluation, sales totaled 4,844.
In any revaluation the county wants to get the appraised tax value as close to the potential sale price as possible, or 100 percent. After the 2005 revaluation, the county’s ratio was 95.6 percent. By the end of 2006, it had dropped to 88.3 percent, meaning the median sales value had already outpaced the median assessed value.
This time, Roberson says, the county's tax values are even closer to sales figures. After the 2009 revaluation, a Jan. 1, 2010, N.C. Department of Revenue Property Tax Division found Orange County’s ratio was 98.65 percent. From Jan. 1 to Oct. 31, 2010, the ratio rose slightly to about 99.1, indicating that property values are flat.
“Quite honestly we’re just about as close as you can get,” Roberson said. “You just don’t get more than 99 percent, and we did.”
The county commissioners must decide by next month whether to delay the next revaluation two years. The delay could save $200,000. If they go ahead and revalue and properties are worth less, they risk having to raise the tax rate to keep the same momney coming in. If they don't revalue and actual property values have changed, up or down, they risk current assessments being out of date and people not paying their fair share.
What do you think?