2017 Property Tax Assessments Reflect Modest Recovery

The State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) has completed its 2017 reassessment of one-third of all residential and commercial properties across the state: and found an average increase in property values of 8.2 percent since that group’s last assessment in 2014. This marks the group’s largest increase in value since 2008 – reflecting a trend in recent years of the tax base regaining increments of the massive value drops suffered during the “great recession.”

SDAT mailed out property tax assessment notices to affected property property owners on Wednesday, December 28. SDAT assesses all real property in the state – more than two million accounts – in three-year cycles, and this year’s properties are known as “Group 2.” A map of which properties fall into Groups 1, 2, and 3 and their respective years for reassessment can be viewed here. Additional statistics and information are available here.

From SDAT’s press release:

The 2017 assessments for the 758,749 properties in Group 2 were based on an evaluation of 68,757 sales that occurred within the group over the last three years. If the reassessment resulted in a property value being adjusted, any increase in value will be phased-in equally over the next three years, while any decrease in value will be fully implemented in the 2017 tax year. For the 2017 reassessment, 71.4% of Group 2 residential properties saw an increase in property value. Statewide, all real property values increased by an average of 8.2%, which represents an average increase of 6.4% for all residential property and 13.6% for all commercial property.

As reported in The Baltimore Sun:

While home values continue to recover slowly, commercial values leapt about 14 percent in the new assessments, reflecting business activity spurred by economic growth.

About 71 percent of residential properties included in this round saw assessments increase, continuing an upswing that started in 2013. The gains were strongest in counties near Washington and Baltimore, while assessments in more rural areas, like the Eastern Shore, showed little change and, in some cases, declined.

Read the The Baltimore Sun articlewhich quotes MACo Executive Director Michael Sanderson.

Two counties saw Group 2 property value increases in the double digits: Prince George’s by 13.5 percent, followed by Anne Arundel, by 12.4 percent. Prince George’s experienced the largest increase in residential property values at 14.2 percent, while Anne Arundel saw the greatest increase in commercial property values at 21.1 percent. It deserves noting that Prince George’s also saw the largest declines statewide in Group 2 assessments in 2011 at 28.7 percent. (Prince George’s Group 2 residential property owners with Homestead Tax Credits will not have to worry about higher tax bills this year, however: their credit caps growth of their assessments at zero percent for the current fiscal year.)

Five counties saw property values decrease since 2014: Allegany, Caroline, Kent, Somerset, and Talbot. Somerset saw the largest decrease of 6.4 percent. Reports delmarvanow on the Somerset decrease:

“This was not totally unexpected,” said Crisfield Mayor Kim Lawson, who was expecting a decrease in property values as high as 10 percent.

Earlier this year, Lawson said he asked the City Council to support a $500,000 borrowing resolution to pay for street repairs, but when he got word that assessments were headed downward he asked to withdraw it. …

The reassessed area [in Somerset] included Crisfield, Marion Station and Smith Island.

“Crisfield is unpredictable, especially after Hurricane Sandy,” said Gene Adkins, Somerset County’s finance director. “We’re not totally surprised by it.”

Somerset County was not hit as hard as other parts of Maryland by the recession in 2008, but it is the last to come out of it, Adkins said. Last year, the county saw a 5.2 percent decrease in a large rural area that stretches from south of Princess Anne to the Pocomoke River and includes Westover, Fairmount, Marion Station and Rehobeth.

The Princess Anne area will be assessed next year, and Adkins said he hopes to see Somerset County’s numbers finally increase.

SDAT’s press release includes several helpful breakdowns of county-specific assessment data.

MACo hosts a meeting between county finance officials and State assessments and revenue forecasting experts on Friday, January 6 to discuss the latest property tax assessments. County officials may contact Barbara Zektick, MACo Associate Director for more information about this meeting.