Eagle County real estate hasn’t bottomed out yet | AspenTimes.com

Eagle County real estate hasn’t bottomed out yet

BASALT – Property values in Eagle County, including the middle Roaring Fork Valley, haven’t hit bottom yet, so governments that collect property taxes could face tough times for the foreseeable future, county officials said.

Eagle County Assessor Mark Chapin said his staff’s analysis of property values from Jan. 1, 2008 through Sept. 20 this year indicates a steady decline that hasn’t stopped.

“The market’s still falling. What percentage, I don’t know,” Chapin said. “There’s a few areas where it looks like it’s gone flat, specifically Gypsum and Eagle.”

All Colorado counties conducted a reappraisal in 2011; state law mandates a reappraisal every other year.

The Roaring Fork Valley portion of Eagle County experienced more drastic decreases than the Eagle Valley after the recession hit. Prices in the Roaring Fork Valley had peaked higher because of the proximity to Aspen. In this case, the higher the prices climbed, the harder they fell.

There are concrete examples of how far the values have dropped cumulatively. The Crown Mountain Park and Recreation District saw its assessed value for tax purposes drop 33.5 percent. That will affect tax collections due in 2012 and 2013.

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The sluggish economy convinced the district’s board of directors not to seek a property tax increase this year to construct a proposed indoor recreation center. In a meeting last week, the Eagle County commissioners said Crown Mountain was wise not to risk defeat in this poor economic environment. Commission chairman Jon Stavney said the climate might not be any better to seek a tax increase in 2012 or 2013. Plus, the next property reappraisal in 2013 might show values have dropped even further, he said.

Chapin said it is certainly possible that values will slide further in the next reappraisal, but that is too tough to forecast right now. For the next reappraisal, the county assessor’s staff will look at sales between Jan. 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012.

Prices in Eagle County remain low because the inventory is so high, he noted. Plus there is a so-called shadow inventory – homes that people want to sell but are keeping off the market because prices are so depressed. Foreclosures and sales of bank-owned properties are also influencing prices.

“It’s all gloom and doom. I hate to talk this way,” Chapin said.

scondon@aspentimes.com