Today's paper had a thoughtful article by Walter Lewis commenting on the appeals process regarding the valuation of Walter's property on Kauai. It is really quite a dichotomy to be a real estate professional whose success is somewhat tied to the work of appraisers who in this market are more conservative than ever. More often than in prior years contracts are cancelled due to a property not appraising for the contract price. At the same time, the county has raised the assessed value of most condos on the island. And despite the fact that the market has corrected 15-20% in most neighborhoods, island-wide the assessed value is only down 3%.
As Walter Lewis pointed out,
This year was a banner year for the number of appeals by Kaua‘i taxpayers with nearly 1,000 filing exceptions to the amounts of their assessments. Steve Hunt, who is handling over half of the appeals, informed me that in over 15 percent of the cases that he was given, adjustments were made to the assessments, certainly an improvement from the taxpayer’s standpoint from the 2 percent rate that has been applicable in Board of Review hearings.
Read Walter's entire commentary here:
I spent time with a condo owner earlier in the week who did not achieve as good of results as Walter. In her condo complex in Princeville, the value of the land went up significantly. The county boasted that their new system had succeeded in creating a better balance of values between buildings and land. I find it hard to believe that the assessors can raise the value in such a declining market.
Another comment Walter makes:
Property taxes provide over 60 percent of the revenue for our county and are essential for its financing. But fairness to taxpayers is also fundamental and the 2 percent success rate for taxpayers in the Board of Review process is disquieting.
When the county releases its new assessments for 2010, there is certain to be a problem if values actually rise again. The county not only needs to consider it's balance sheet, but also the fiscal wellness of it's citizens too.
Ron Margolis, RA, CDPE, ABR Hawaii Life Real Estate Services 808.346.7095 email: firstname.lastname@example.org