ASSESSING NEWS AND NOTES – PRELIMINARY VALUATION NOTICE
It’s that time of year again, new property valuations will be in place for the upcoming fiscal year 2017 actual tax bills, due to be mailed in late December. Fiscal year 2017 is a triennial certification year for all valuations in Town. Every three years, representatives from the state’s Department of Revenue (DOR) set up shop in the Assessor’s office and review all valuations, all sales, all valuation schedules and tables, all adjustments, and, the most important component to any revaluation, the detailed statistical analysis which must conform to the prevailing state guidelines.
Assessors are required to compare the actual sales price of homes in their individual community during a given year to the assessed valuations of those sold homes. Additionally, we are required to interpret that market data and apply the results to the assessed values of other properties in the town. Sales during calendar year 2015 were used to produce assessments for fiscal year 2017, with minor exceptions for multifamily homes and commercial properties where 2 years of sales were utilized. Moreover, the proposed valuations that will be available shortly conform to the state DOR’s assessment guidelines.
Our review of over 350 arms-length sales during calendar year 2015 resulted in adjustments to residential properties. The average adjustment to single family homes was 6.8 percent. Some individual properties may have been adjusted by slightly more than that and others lower. Adjustments to valuations are required yearly to meet the prevailing DOR guidelines. These yearly adjustments to values help to mitigate huge changes to values in revaluation years.
According to data obtained from MLS Property Information Network, Inc., there were 234 single family home sales in calendar year 2014 with an average sale price of $519,863. In 2015 there were 248 single family home sales with an average sale price of $553,508 which represents a 9.5 percent increase in sale price from year to year. The average single family assessed value for FY 2016 was $499,500 and for FY 2017 it will be $533,654, or an increase of 6.83 percent.
The average commercial property valuation for FY 2016 was $1,493,100. Assessments in that class increased approximately 4.7% with the average commercial value coming in at $1,563,400 for FY 2017. Most of this increase is attributable to tenant improvements and lower vacancy rates in our commercial office segment.
This week, we will release the proposed fiscal year 2017 valuations. These are the new values that the assessors recommended to the State DOR for final approval. As part of the approval process, the assessors are making these proposed valuations available for public review on the town’s website, www.readingma.gov/assessment , as well as at the Reading Public Library, the Senior Center, and at the Assessor’s Office in Town Hall during normal business hours. Department staff will be available to address any concerns residents may have about their own assessment. We expect this review period to conclude by November 1st at which time we will move forward with both our final valuation certification efforts and tax rate approval.
Contact: Victor Santaniello
Chief Appraiser, Town of Reading