Few complaints about new home valuations
Relatively few homeowners in Pitkin and Eagle counties are howling in protest over their property valuations this spring like they did two years ago.
County assessors in Colorado are required to revalue property every other year, in the odd-numbered years. Property owners were notified of their new valuations May 1, and they have until the end of the day Tuesday to appeal.
“We’ve only had 600 appeals total, which is low,” said Eagle County Assessor Mark Chapin. As of Wednesday afternoon, there were only 79 appeals from the Basalt and El Jebel area, he said.
That is in sharp contrast to the outrage of May 2009 when Chapin’s office received just shy of 8,000 appeals.
“It was a killer,” he said.
Property owners were angry in 2009 because the new values determined by assessors didn’t yet reflect the real estate crash in the recession. There is lag time inherent in the government’s reappraisal process. The values released in May 2009 reflected pre-recession bubble prices.
The value released this month finally reflect the ravages of the recession. That’s why there are so few objections, Chapin said.
In a typical reappraisal year, his office receives about 3,500 appeals.
In Pitkin County, there were 250 appeals filed by Wednesday, according to Larry Fite of the assessor’s office. “That’s really low,” he said.
In May 2009, they had that many appeals in just a few days, and the total number of appeals was between 4,500 and 4,700, Fite said. In a typical reappraisal year, there are between 1,500 and 2,000 appeals in Pitkin County, he said.
Both Chapin and Fite said the number of appeals will increase in the last few days. Consultants who handle appeals for property owners typically submit their work on the last couple of days before the deadline.
Garret Brandt, a partner in Aspen Valley Property Consultants, said the firm is working on a dozen appeals, all for property in Pitkin County. He said he sensed many people in the Roaring Fork Valley were satisfied with the valuations this year, or at least they weren’t unhappy enough to spend the time and money on an appeal.
Brandt said people in the midvalley in particular felt the new values reflect the direction of the market.
Research by The Aspen Times on May 2 indicated the assessor’s office reduced residential values in Old Town Basalt fell between 54 and 60 percent. Values in Elk Run subdivision of Basalt fell 44 to 51 percent.
In Willits subdivision, values were down 29 to 36 percent, according to the newspaper’s informal survey. Blue Lake in El Jebel saw decreases of 32 to 37 percent.
In the Aspen area, typical declines were 25 percent for homes on Cemetery Lane, 21 percent in Meadowood, 31 percent in Mountain Valley and 35 percent in the West End.
Chapin said he has actually gotten calls from a handful of property owners who felt their values fell too much – more than the market reflects. He said he doubts those property owners will appeal, though.
The valuation affects the property tax that homeowners pay.
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