Struggling Housing Market is Culprit

Franklin County’s locally assessed property values are down this year by more than $77.8 million, according to preliminary figures.

Franklin County Assessor Tom Copeland said, “It’s been a long time” since the county has seen a drop this large.

The struggling housing market is the driving force behind the drop in values, he added.

Home values are set based on sales of nearby homes, Copeland said. Houses are still selling for less than what they have in the past, he added.

When 200 homes in one area each go down $30,000 in value that is a net loss of $6 million in value, he noted.

New construction is also still very slow, he said.

State-Assessed Values

The state-assessed railroads/utilities have not yet been factored into the county’s assessed value for tax purposes, but it may be done this week.

Without the state-assessed railroads/utilities included, Franklin County’s assessed property valuation is down $77,834,024 compared to last year.

The county’s assessed valuation without the state-assessed utilities this year is $1,633,507,343.

This includes locally assessed residential, agriculture, and commercial/industrial real estate as well as personal property and railroad/utilities.

Residential property values saw the biggest decrease going from $986,787,634 in 2012 down to $899,046,591 this year.

Agricultural property went up in value from $39.8 million to $52.8 million.

Some of the agricultural land values went up because the land classification was changed from agricultural to vacant/unused, Copeland said.

The vacant/unused classification causes the value to go up because it means the parcels can be used for more purposes, such as residential or commercial uses, according to Copeland. While the property is classified as vacant/ unused, it is still assessed as agricultural property, he said.

And commercial property went down slightly in value from $333.9 million to $327.8 million.

Total locally assessed railroads/utilities went up from $64,064,515 in 2012 to $73,178,490 this year.

Last Year’s Value

Last year’s total value with state-assessed railroads and utilities included was $1,850,904,474.

Last year’s value without the state-assessed railroads and utilities was $1,711,341,367.

This year, locally assessed personal property in Franklin County went up $10,396,853 while real estate was down more than $88 million, according to the county clerk’s office.

The assessed value represents a percentage of the appraised value and is used for taxation purposes. For residential, the assessed value is 19 percent of the appraised value; commercial property, 32 percent; and agriculture 12 percent.

Taxing entities, such as school districts, counties and municipalities, can raise their taxes to a certain limit before having to seek voter approval of an increase.