Property values in Franklin County declined more this year than they have in over 50 years, according to county figures.

Figures show that the county’s assessed property valuation went down 3.87 percent this year compared to last.

The decline in value is not a reflection of the local housing market, said Rachele Maczuk, president of the Franklin County Board of Realtors.

Maczuk said she is seeing a big turnaround in the housing market.

“The current market is looking up,” Maczuk said.

A lack of housing on the market is creating bigger demand, which could drive up new construction, Maczuk added.

Moreover, she said rising interest rates are motivating people to buy homes while they can still get a good rate.

But figures from the county do not indicate such a positive picture for local real estate.

The Missourian obtained assessed value figures dating back to 1959, and the nearly 4 percent drop in value this year is the largest decline during that time period.

The large decline in value is a reflection of what has gone on nationally with the recession, County Assessor Tom Copeland said. Franklin County is no different than the rest of the country, he said.

The reality is that the market remains in a decline, he added. Since Copeland has been in office, the county’s property values have been flat or declining, he said.

In 2008, values went up 2 percent; 2009, 2.6 percent; 2010, 1.4 percent; 2011, values went down 0.8 percent; and in 2012 they went up 1.3 percent.

The housing market is the biggest reason for the large drop in property values, Copeland added. Residential real estate sank from $986.8 million in 2012 to $899 million this year.

“It all comes back to what the housing market is doing in sales,” Copeland said, adding that home values are based on what nearby homes have sold for.

When he became the assessor that was about the same time that the county started seeing increased foreclosures, he said. It is hard to say when property values may rebound, Copeland added.

Some houses are still sitting on the market for extended periods, according to Copeland.

Last year, the total assessed valuation of the county, which includes personal property and real estate, was $1.9 billion, and this year it is $1.8 billion.

Prior to this year’s decline in property values of almost 4 percent, the biggest drop since 1959 had been 0.83 percent in 2011.

In fact, since 1959, there have only been two other years when property values went down — 1984 and 2011.

Since 1959, the largest percentage increase in value occurred in 1985 when assessed property values went up almost 78 percent. That was a reassessment year mandated by the state.

The assessed value figures are still subject to change since the Franklin County Board of Equalization is holding hearings for those who dispute their values.

Assessed values represent a percentage of market values. The assessed value is the percentage that property is taxed at. For instance, residential property is taxed at 19 percent of its market value; agricultural, 12 percent; and commercial, 32 percent.