Local Politics

Wake home values jumped 20 percent on average in reassessment

Posted February 10, 2020 5:48 p.m. EST
Updated February 10, 2020 10:36 p.m. EST

— Property values for homes in Wake County increased 20 percent, on average, in the reassessment county officials recently completed.

Tax officials revalue every property in Wake County at least once every four years to keep tax values in line with market values. The higher tax values could mean higher tax bills once the county and area cities approve their annual budgets in June.

Annette Murphy, who lives in southeast Raleigh, said she already has a list of ailments, from asthma to problems with her back, knees and feet. Now, she's worried sick about a possible hefty increase to her taxes after receiving a Wake County appraisal of her home value in the mail.

"It’s a hardship on me. I can barely pay the bills that I already have, and then, with taxes going up – it’s hard already paying the taxes I have to pay, because I'm the only one here – and with all my other bills, I just don’t have the money," Murphy said.

Southeast Raleigh's neighborhoods are gentrifying, as smaller, older homes are knocked down to make way for larger, new ones. That means properties in the area are more valuable.

But county Revenue Director Marcus Kinrade said much of the property value increase was driven by supply and demand. A high demand for houses, especially those less than $250,000, as Wake County grows is colliding with a limited number of those homes on the market or under construction.

"What we saw, interestingly, was the highest increases on the residential [property values] were in central-eastern Wake County where that housing stock exists – Wendell, Zebulon, Garner, Knightdale – and then areas of Raleigh," Kinrade said.

Zebulon saw the biggest jump, at 29 percent, followed by Knightdale at 25 percent and Garner, Wendell and Raleigh at 23 percent each. Rolesville has the smallest average increase, at 13 percent, followed by Wake Forest at 15 percent.

Commercial property values increased by an average of 33 across the county during the reassessment.

Murphy said she hopes she can hang on to her house, which has been in her family for 70 years.

County officials were holding a community meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday at Grace AME Zion Church, at 1401 Boyer St. in Raleigh, to inform people about the revaluation process, how they can appeal new values that they believe are wrong and possible resources available to help them with tax relief.

Several such meetings will be held across the county in the coming weeks.

Appealing tax value early is better

Homeowners have until May 28 to appeal, but the process will take less time and effort for people who appeal by March 1, which is the deadline for informal appeals.

Four years ago, the county received more than 9,300 informal appeals, and more than 5,600 of those led to a change in the home's tax value.

On average, successful appeals led to a 13 percent drop in the value – but an appeal could also raise the value if county officials see something they missed when reviewing a property the first time around.

If several homeowners in one neighborhood appeal and win, the county will adjust values for the rest of the homes in that neighborhood.

Kinrade said people shouldn't yet pay someone to appeal the county appraisal or reappraise it. Instead, he said, they should first submit their own appeal with comparable home prices to start the conversation with county tax officials.

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