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Local homes worth less now, revaluations show

Clark, Champaign residential values decline, but farmland keeps rising.

Residential property values overall dropped in both Clark and Champaign counties after revaluations completed this year, reflecting figures seen across the state in part because of foreclosures and declining sale prices.

The revaluations, which are completed every six years, included visits to thousands of parcels in both counties, as well as reviews of property sales and other information over a three-year period.

For many residents, but not all, it means the value of their homes is less than it was just a few years ago. At the same time, the value of farmland in both counties has increased.

Champaign County saw its residential values decline by about 2 percent, while Clark County’s residential values were down 4 percent countywide. Commercial and industrial values also declined by 3 percent in Clark County. Among other purposes, the reval process helps determine the fair market value of a parcel, or the most probable price a parcel would sell for on the open market between a willing buyer and a willing seller.

State officials said the figures reported in Clark and Champaign counties are in line with the Ohio trend in recent years. While property values are declining statewide, they are declining slower than in years past, said Shelley Wilson, executive administrator of the Tax Equalization Division of the Ohio Department of Taxation.

Residential property values have typically declined between 0 and 5 percent statewide in counties in which a reval was conducted for the 2013 tax year, Wilson said. During the heart of the Great Recession, however, state officials were frequently seeing double digit declines.

“Values are still declining, but the rate at which they’re declining is shrinking,” Wilson said.

Overall, the reval process included reviews of about 26,000 parcels in Champaign County, including both residential and commercial and industrial properties, said Karen Bailey, Champaign County auditor. Champaign County worked with Lexur Appraisal Services, based in Dayton, to survey the parcels.

In Clark County, which contracted with Tyler Technologies Inc., the reval process included more than 66,000 parcels. The process also includes a review of valid sales and other information over a three-year period to help determine the fair market value of the parcels.

Auditors in both counties said while foreclosures and other issues that affect the value of neighborhoods have improved, they are still an problem.

“Foreclosures are still an issue in Clark County,” said Auditor John Federer. “There are pockets that are doing really well, and there’s some stabilization in some of the markets. But overall we still have more than our fair share of foreclosures, which does impact the value of a neighborhood.”

A review of sales also shows residential parcels were selling for less than in the past, Bailey said.

“There’s not a lot of sales, and the sale prices are lower,” she said.

Some neighborhoods have increased in value, Federer said, but as a whole residential values have declined.

“There are pockets where houses have started to appreciate,” Federer said.

On the other hand, the value of farmland has increased in both counties, from an average of $2,700 per acre to $4,400 per acre in Clark County. Farmland in Champaign County rose from about $2,600 per acre to about $4,000 per acre, Bailey said.

The value of farmland in Ohio and across much of the U.S. has risen in recent years due to a variety of factors, including record low interest rates, excellent yields and farmers flush with cash.

“Farmland has done very well over the last number of years value-wise,” Federer said.

Federer said he is confident in the overall accuracy of the reval and made several changes to help make sure the prices are right. Among them, the office evaluated and categorized the styles of houses, reviewed sales, reconfigured neighborhoods and determined whether parcels were within a flood plain. Some of those items were factored in for the first time during this process, Federer said.

The previous reval, conducted under former Clark County Auditor George Sodders, was controversial with a record number of residents challenging the results. Federer said it’s hard to say for sure how much residential property values may have declined, in part because he was not confident in the figures from the last reval.

“Frankly, I didn’t have a lot of support for the old numbers to start with,” Federer said.

This month, the Clark County Auditor’s office began mailing out fliers with parcel information to residents, along with the parcel numbers, frequently asked questions and the new tentative value for the parcel. Through Oct. 25, residents in Clark County with questions about the values are encouraged to make an appointment with staff members to schedule a review. Those residents who question the appraised value are asked to provide supporting documentation.

Bailey said residents with questions about their tentative values can visit the auditor’s real estate office any time throughout the year to discuss the values.

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