Assessor: Midvalley home values down 20 to 50 percent |

Assessor: Midvalley home values down 20 to 50 percent

EAGLE COUNTY – The taxable value of midvalley houses will likely tumble another 20 to 50 percent when Colorado counties undertake a mandatory re-valuation of property in May, Eagle County Assessor Mark Chapin said Monday.

House valuations in the Eagle County portion of the Roaring Fork Valley plummeted in the last re-valuation in May 2011. Houses in the Old Town neighborhood of Basalt fell by as much as 60 percent. In Willits, assessed values generally fell 29 to 36 percent.

The assessor’s staff is just starting to analyze sales data that will be used for the next re-valuation. Chapin said values will drop because they will reflect what occurred in the market between Jan. 1, 2011, and June 30, 2012.

“We have to replicate the market,” he said.

New assessed values will be mailed out to property owners May 1. To meet the deadline, Chapin’s staff will devour sales data for the 18-month period ending June 30, 2012. The preliminary glance indicates Eagle County properties generally saw a 13 percent decrease countywide, Chapin said. Pockets saw greater declines, such as Basalt and El Jebel in the Roaring Fork Valley and Gypsum and Eagle in the Eagle Valley, he said.

“Some neighborhoods are more stable than others,” Chapin said. The neighborhoods dominated by second homes tended to stabilize in price more quickly. The working-class neighborhoods occupied by full-time residents tended to get hit harder, he said.

Many locals’ enclaves are being affected by foreclosures, where banks repossess property when borrowers cannot pay their mortgage, or short sales, where owners sell their property for less than they owe on a mortgage. Chapin said there have been a lot of foreclosures and short sales in the neighborhoods where it appears assessed values will be tumbling the most.

“That’s set the tone for the market,” he said.

The Aspen Times reported July 6 that foreclosure filings in Pitkin, Eagle and Garfield counties surged in the second quarter of 2012.

Wendy Lucas, managing broker with Shane Aspen Real Estate, said she expects to see a continued high level of activity with foreclosures and short sales.

“There are still a lot of people in distress,” she said.

But she also expects to see midvalley property values rise. Inventory has disappeared in some market segments, such as residential property below $400,000 in Carbondale and below $500,000 in Basalt, Lucas said. Any property that is appropriately priced and in a good neighborhood will sell quickly in those price categories, she said.

Other neighborhoods such as River Valley Ranch, with numerous homes prices at and above $1 million, are “still lagging,” Lucas said.

In general, Lucas said she believes home prices in the Eagle County portion of the Roaring Fork Valley fell about 30 percent between Jan. 1, 2011, and June 30, 2012. From that point on, there will “probably” be appreciation in prices, she said.

“People have more faith in the values that they have now,” Lucas said.

Even if the market has stabilized and appreciation has returned, government taxing districts that depend on property tax revenues will reap reduced revenues for a few years. If property is re-valued 20 to 50 percent less in May, that will affect the tax bills paid in 2014 and 2015.

The Basalt and Rural Fire Protection District will likely ask voters for a property tax increase in November. The Basalt Regional Library District will decide in August if it will approach voters for a tax hike.

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