Changing Property Values in a Bad Economy

We’ve been hearing nothing but bad economic news for the past several months.

The stock market is tanking, with folks losing huge portions of their retirement accounts. People are being evicted from their homes as banks foreclose on properties in record numbers. Even renters who pay on time every month can be pinched when their overextended landlords lose their rental properties. This puts downward pressure on real estate values, with bargain hunters (who have cash) snapping up deals. Just yesterday, I heard of businesspeople in China looking to buy homes in the US because of their relative affordability.

With my retirement funds suffering the same plummeting fate as everybody else, I expected to learn similar bad news on the value of my home. Curiously, the assessed value of my home—according to local authorities—did not go down in 2008; it did not stay the same; it went up 4.6 percent. Say what?

There are two possible conclusions that I can make. The first is that the media has overstated the situation and my home really has increased in value. The other consideration is that, since my taxes are based on my assessed value, the township is seeking to increase revenue.

I’m not sure which scenario bothers me more: errant journalism or tax-hungry government officials. What I do know is that I’ll being paying more in property taxes in 2009.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

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