The majority will not see a change from last year. Of the 230,540 residential notices mailed, 51,456 will reflect a change in fair market value.
Of those 51,456 notices with changes, 40,630 show a decrease in fair market value, said Stephen White, director and chief appraiser for the Cobb Board of Tax Assessors.
Every owner of real taxable property gets an assessment notice whether the value has changed or not with the exception of those properties that are exempt, such as churches. Commercial notices were mailed in April.
White said the numbers tell him that a correction is underway in the housing market. A few years ago, his office lowered the value of more than 100,000 properties while last year the total exceeded 90,000.
“This year it’s still going down a little bit with some, but much less than what we’ve seen before,” he said. “If you think of the real estate market almost like a big ship, it takes a while for itself to turn around. The fact is we’re seeing less decreases, less properties needing to be decreased, and we’re seeing some properties now that need to be increased.”
District 2 Commissioner Bob Ott of east Cobb agreed that the signs are positive.
“In District 2, I think the community is starting to see it; you know there’s a big demand for home sales,” Ott said. “The Johnson Ferry project I’ve heard has as many as 300 people interested in living in the 125 homes, and I’m also told by builders that there’s a huge demand for the homes in the $300,000 to $500,000 range, so I think that it’s probably just another positive sign that maybe the real estate market has started to stabilize.”
The county is still a long way off from full recovery, he said.
“But the smaller the number gets for the lowering of the values, the closer we are to bottoming out,” he said.
Of the 10,826 notices with an increase in fair market value, about 2,000 of those are permits which could be anything from homes that are mostly completed to homes that have added on something new like a garage or pool.
“Roughly 2,000 of those notices are going to be for new structures and improvements,” White said. “The remainder would be for increases that the value suggests that our value was now at the point where we needed to increase the value.”
Those who desire to appeal the assessment have 45 days to do so. Instructions will be included in the mailing. The appeal must have a postmarked date by July 1 for consideration. Emails and faxes are not accepted, White said.
“We recommend to people that they provide additional information as to why they want to appeal, maybe deferred maintenance or sales that they think are affecting their property,” he said.
White’s office has a revolving schedule in which assessors visit properties throughout the county.
“Obviously we can’t be out at 230,000 properties, so what we do is after Jan. 1 we take a look back at all the sales that occurred prior to Jan. 1, so during calendar year 2012, and we’re looking at them on a subdivision by subdivision basis, comparing where the sales are, what the sale amount is, to what our amount is, and that’s how we determine if our values are too high or too low for that subdivision,” he said.