The majority of Will County homeowners will see a decrease in the assessed value of their property for 2012, with an overall average reduction of about 6.44 percent throughout the area, a county official announced Wednesday, Aug. 1.
This is the third year the county has seen a decline, due in large part to the lingering effects of the recent housing market crash and struggling economy, said Rhonda Novak, Will County Supervisor of Assessments, in a press release.
“The reduction is a direct reflection of the drop in property values that Will County, and much of our nation, has been experiencing for several years,” she stated in the release.
But a lower assessment doesn't translate to a lower property tax bill, warned Assessor Joe Kral, who establishes the property values for Frankfort and Mokena. The assessed value is just the first piece of the puzzle when it comes to a homeowner's property tax bill. Here's how Kral has explained the process in the past:
What's assessed value? A homeowner's assessed value is 33.33 percent of the fair market value and is determined using sales data from the three previous years, . The state requires assessors to create a three-year median of home sales to create that value, he added. In the case of the 2012 value, sales data from 2009, 2010 and 2011 was used.
How your property tax bill is determined: Kral uses a hypothetical to explain how the assessed value and the rates from a community's taxing bodies work to come up with how much you pay each year. :
If a taxing body needs $5 million to operate and the assessed value of the homes in your area is $500 million, the tax rate is 1 percent.
Let's say your individual home is assessed at $100,000. That means you'll be paying $1,000 in property taxes.
Hypothetically in the following year, your new assessment drops to $95,000. Yet the overall taxing burden remains at $5 million. The Will County treasurer would then recalculate the tax rate higher to satisfy the levy request, resulting in tax bills that would remain the same. In addition, If the taxing bodies need additional funding, the levy request would result in a greater increased tax rate and an even higher tax bill even though the assessment has been reduced.
Despite this year's reduction, there are some optimistic indicators that could see home assessments bounce back, Kral said. Housing starts for this year recently surpassed last year's total, more homes in the $500,000 range are being sold, and the inventory of previously built houses on the market is being depleted, he said.
"The numbers are showing that we've turned a corner," Kral said.
Another good sign Kral pointed to were the increase of business moving into the area, especially Frankfort. and are positive things, he added.
In fact, Kral said homes in Frankfort have maintained and loss less value than surrounding communities, thanks to the village sticking by its building codes and the continued draw of the school districts, which he termed the best in the south suburbs.
The Notice of 2012 Revised Assessment will be mailed out to homeowners this week and should reach them by Aug. 8, according to Novak. A homeowner has 30 days after that date to file an appeal if he or she feels his or her assessment is in error, Kral said. Homeowners can go to online to the Will County Supervisor of Assessments' website or the Frankfort Township Assessors' website for more information.
Kral also said he encourages homeowners with questions to call his office at 815-464-3180 or to stop by .
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