As with most areas of Chattanooga, property values in Northwest Georgia counties, including Katusa and Walker, are on the rise.
The appraised value of the 23,000 residential properties revalued this year in Walker County has grown by an average of 14% since the last appraisal in 2016.
Despite the significant increase, very few have appealed against the revaluation of their homes, Walker County Chief Assessor Terry Gillrit said.
“This is probably the least number of appeals we have ever received,” he said, adding that he found this very surprising.
Katusa County, whose appraised residential property values have increased by 14.5%, roughly double that of Walker, has received nearly double the number of appeals this year this year, from 77 in 2020 to 141 in 2021, just before The deadline for submission of documents is July 12.
The assessed value is determined using the sales prices of homes in the county, and many homes in Walker County are selling $ 30-50,000 more than the asking price, Gillrit said.
“We have a lot of people from California, New Jersey, Texas; they pay whatever they want to come here, ”he said. “This is definitely a seller’s market, but the problem with a seller’s market is that it’s not convenient for taxpayers.”
According to the Greater Chattanooga Realtors Association’s annual market reports, the average selling price of homes in Walker County rose from $ 115,000 in 2016 to $ 159,000 in 2020, an increase of about 38%.
Georgia’s law requires the appraised value to be between 36% and 44% of the home’s fair market value, Gillrit said.
In Catuza, the appraised value now stands at 36.57% of fair market value, up from 39.5% in 2019.
Counties must raise or lower the base value at which each home is priced to maintain the state’s established value ratios, and Gillrit said Walker has postponed this as long as possible.
For this new estimate, Walker’s base cost has increased from $ 52 to $ 78 per square foot.
Catoosa has also adjusted its base home value this year from $ 55 to $ 65 per square foot.
“Homes are selling for incredible amounts of money, and unfortunately, this affects our performance,” said Gillrit.
If Walker hadn’t increased his baseline, the ratio would have been 32%, below the government’s established range. The increase in the base cost has pushed the Walker’s cost ratio to 36.7%, which is barely within the specified range, Gillrit said.
He stressed that an increase in the value of a taxpayer’s property does not necessarily mean an increase in the amount they will pay in taxes. The tax rates, which will be set later this summer by the governing bodies of counties, cities and school systems, determine the amount of taxes due.
Gilreth said the governing bodies should adjust their grind rates so that an increase in the appraised value does not lead to an increase in revenue, but they are not required to do so.
While the recently mailed revaluation notices include an estimate of the amount of taxes due, Gilreth stressed that the amount is approximate and his office does not collect taxes. He said his office received up to 11 checks a day from people who believe their revaluation notice is an invoice.
Gillrit said the county’s goal is to revalue properties annually, rather than basing the revaluation on multiple years of data to avoid significant increases in the future.
But in general, citizens seem to understand the need to increase the appraised value of their property after explaining the reasons, which is also evidenced by the small number of requests.
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