Local News

Property Value Notices Go Out in Wake, Durham Counties

Posted November 21, 2007 6:03 p.m. EST
Updated November 21, 2007 7:16 p.m. EST

— New property tax values arrived in mail boxes Wednesday across Wake and Durham counties and homeowners are already calling about appeals.

Property values in Wake County have risen at about the same rate each reassessment - going up about 43 percent county-wide in 1992 and 2000.

The increase could impact how much owners pay in property taxes. Assessors take the price of homes sold in a neighborhood and plug them into a formula to determine worth.

"The assessment came back, the property had about doubled," said homeowner Jennifer Brown.

The county said homeowners around Brown's Five Points neighborhood can expect at least a 100 percent increase.

"It's a little higher than that. It went from $225,000 to $472,000," homeowner Chuck Norwood said.

Norwood checked his assessment online before notices came in the mail.

"I was not surprised at all," he said.

The county said without all the new construction, the increase would be even higher.

"If there wasn't an inventory of new houses, then that might inflate properties up also," said Ken McArtor, Wake County appraiser.

At the revenue department, people are already calling about appeals. The county estimates about 10 percent of homeowners will appeal assessments.

Nine area counties, including Durham, are updating property tax values.

“I was appalled. I was struck speechless and not many things do that to me," Durham County homeowner Ellen Ciompi said.

Ciompi's house was appraised at $274,000 in 2001. This year, the county bumped up its value to $901,701.

Ciompi said she feels some houses were over-assessed and others undervalued. She also said the revaluations are riddled with inaccuracies.

“Like my neighbor's house down the street is listed as having zero bedrooms. I happen to know he sleeps there,” she said.

“We'd be crazy to think we sent out 106,000 assessments that were all perfect,” said Kenneth Joyner, Durham County tax administrator.

Joyner said his office has gotten 1700 complaints over the last three days.

“We look at sales of properties, cost of construction and the income on income-producing property,” he said.

But, some homeowners like Ciompi, aren't buying it.

“I expect to pay my share of taxes. I don't expect to pay seven people's share of taxes," Ciompi said.

Homeowners who want to appeal need to call their county tax office by Dec. 19.