Revaluation Countdown

Are you in a Revaluation 2011 town? If so, then it’s just about time for the new fair market values to be distributed. Have you been checking your mailbox daily? Exciting, right?!? What’s the number going to be … how much is your home worth as of October 2011? There a good chance it will be a lower number than from the 2006 revaluation. Which is sad, but that’s the reality these days.

Constitution Plaza in Hartford

So the question is how much has your (and my) market value decreased versus the rest of the property in town. Properties that decrease more than average are actually the “winners” in this competition. Sure, you’ve lost more value, but your share of the town’s expenses (paid through property taxes) decreases. Owners of properties that weathered the weak real estate market better than average are rewarded with more of the tax burden. Note that it’s unlikely anyone’s taxes will go down a meaningful amount.

Both Hartford and West Hartford are doing a 2011 revaluation with interesting complications. For Hartford, residential owners are protected from the full tax burden by split assessment ratios. The new rules were passed by the State Legislature this spring, and have recently been revised every five years. Please see our Hartford Property Taxes page for more information. The main unknown in Hartford is the starting point for the coming five year cycle, which will be determined by how far the commercial market values fell relative to the residential market values.

West Hartford has a more subtle issue to address. By 2006, property values had increased dramatically from the previous revaluation. The town initially implemented a phase-in to cushion the blow for homeowners who were most impacted, giving everyone an equal assessment step up in the first year and then spreading the remaining assessment increase over four years. West Hartford then reversed course after the second year and froze the phase-in until this year. Prices have come down since 2006, one of the key arguments in favor of the freeze, so it will be interesting to see if the problem has fixed itself or if further intervention will be required. Back in May we did a 2 part piece on West Hartford’s upcoming revaluation (Part 1 and Part 2).

Market values for all towns participating in a revaluation are as of October 1, 2011, so homeowners should be receiving their updated numbers in the near future. Both the Hartford and West Hartford Assessor’s offices report that they are planning to send them out in the second half of November. Once those letters are in hand, we’ll head directly into the “informal hearings” portion of the process, where owners can challenge their new values.

This is exciting stuff for real estate dorks like us, so you’ll no doubt be subjected to the gory details over the coming months … stay tuned!