Home Credit inquiry County property valuations take a big leap in the sellers’ market

County property valuations take a big leap in the sellers’ market


David Colburn

REGIONAL – North Country homeowners could experience something of a “sticker shock” when they receive their Estimated Market Value (EMV) statements for their properties from the St. Louis County Assessor’s Office in the coming weeks.
Director of Public Records and Property Valuation Mary Garness said some buildings would see an increase in value of more than 20% and some plots of land would skyrocket by as much as 50%.
“It’s kind of a wide range, and it really depends on the property, where it’s located, whether or not there’s lake frontage — there’s a wide range,” Garness said. “Some owners will see a zero percent increase, and others will see something quite significant. This is mainly due to the selling prices we are seeing in the market.”
Garness has been in the position for three years, but the “seller’s market” demonstrated by the selling activity that took place in the county between October 1, 2020 and September 30, 2021 resulted in valuation increases that surprised even his evaluators. the most seasoned. .
“What I’m hearing from the assessor’s office and people who have worked here for a while is that they haven’t seen this type of activity in 20 years, so that’s pretty remarkable” , said Garness. “I hear surprise, shock and fear that some properties are selling for $40,000 to $50,000 above list price and there are bidding wars going on, which is interesting.”
While a valuation increase might be seen as a boon to a homeowner considering selling, for the vast majority of homeowners who intend to stay put, another question arises: how much will my property bill be? property tax going up?
That’s a question with no definite answer right now, Garness said. The estimated market values ​​currently distributed will apply to the 2023 tax year, and tax entities will not finalize their new levies until December. With the number and variation of tax entities involved and the formulations of the 2023 budget still months and months away, one homeowner may see a tax increase while another homeowner with a similarly valued property may see little or no increase.
However, what is likely overall, Garness said, is that residential property owners will bear a greater share of the overall tax burden.
“It is the value that distributes the tax bill between different categories of properties such as commercial, agricultural, residential, industrial, etc. “, she says. “Last year, for the 2021 assessment of taxes payable in 2022, the (increasing) residential property values ​​accounted for 75% of the county’s total value increase, which was approximately $1 billion. , so the burden shifted more to residential. We haven’t collated all the final numbers yet, but that’s also a likely scenario for the 2022 valuation. My best guess is that it will equate to a tax hike, but it’s too early to say how much.
The EMV notice provides details of a property’s estimated market value – the price a property would sell for on the open market – along with its classification and a list of possible deductions that result in the property’s taxable market value, or TMV. The most common exclusion is the Homestead Market Value Exclusion, which decreases as the value of the property increases.
Another important piece of EMV information comes into play for homeowners who wish to challenge the county assessor’s findings. Since only 20% of the properties in a given assessment district are physically inspected each year, there may, for example, be changes to the property that have not been taken into account.
The first line of investigation is to call the EMV Designated Evaluator to talk informally about your concerns or attend a local meeting if available.
“Often, if there are errors or issues, the assessor can answer questions or make corrections without going to a local appeal board,” Garness said.
Official appeals begin with the local appeal board and equalization. For smaller towns, there may not be an actual board meeting, but the EMV has the information a person needs to file an appeal for review. If a homeowner is unhappy locally, they can take their case to the County Board of Equalization or to the Minnesota Tax Court. These steps are described on the back of the EMV form.
Garness encouraged those pursuing formal appeals to be well prepared. A little research can go a long way to backing up your claims.
“An appraisal is always the best evidence, but it comes at a cost,” Garness said.
The county has online resources that are freely accessible through links on the County Assessor’s Property Information webpage, Garness noted, such as the County Map Explorer and the County Address Entry Form. researching property details. A County Land Explorer layer displays recent home sales, which can help homeowners identify comparable properties more quickly.
“If you research the market, it will usually provide the information needed for a good call,” Garness said.
Garness also promoted two options offered by the Minnesota Department of Revenue that could provide tax relief to certain eligible taxpayers.
“Regular Property Credit Repayment is for homeowners whose property taxes exceed a specified percentage of household income. It’s the first. The other is a special credit refund program for homesteads whose net property tax increase exceeds 12% and is $100 or more, and it is a refund that would appear on their Minnesota tax return. “said Garness.
The St. Louis County Assessor’s Office has created a web page with answers to frequently asked questions and links to additional resources. It can be found at stlouiscountymn.gov/assessor. Any owner with questions specific to their Assessment and Classification Notice should first contact their Assessor, using the information provided at the bottom right of the first page of the EMV Notice or on the Contacts web page at address stlouiscountymn.gov/assessor.