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Real estate values continue to rise in Monroe County – Monroe Evening News

An up-and-down real estate market continues to push property values higher in Monroe County.

Michael Woolford, equalization director for the county, told county commissioners Tuesday night that a two-year study of property sales in 19 local units of government completed by his three-person staff showed increases in every type of land ownership ranging from residential to commercial.

“Apartments and motels took off like crazy,” Woolford said after the half-hour meeting with the county board. “We’re seeing this increasing market. It’s been that way for quite a while. People are paying over the asking price of a parcel because supply is low and construction costs are up. It costs a lot more to build anything.”

The 624-page study mandated by the state looked at “thousands of sales” from April, 2019, through April, 2021, in the 15 townships in the county plus the cities of Luna Pier, Milan, Monroe and Petersburg. The purpose of the study is to measure market sales and correct inequities in property value to determine their true cash value for local assessors.

Woolford’s department looks at property values by class. He said that an appraisal of 4,580 parcels of residential land sold during the study saw an increase of 6.1 percent in value of the properties. Other increased values in other property classifications were as follows:

Agricultural land – 400 parcels, 4.6 percent increase.

Commercial – 442 parcels, 3 percent increase.

Industrial – 224 parcels, 1.4 percent increase.

Developmental land – 25 parcels, 5.5 percent increase.

Overall, property values rose 5.2 percent in the county representing an increase of $16.8 billion in value, Woolford said.

The county board voted 9-0 to accept the study.

“Every appraisal is an opinion of value,” the director said. “There were so many intricate details we looked at. Our study reflects these increases and gives an accurate projection of true cash value so the (local) assessors can certify their assessment rolls.”

Dec. 31 is tax day for the department, which means Woolford’s staff must come up with property values at that point for each land classification. All property is assessed at 50 percent of its true cash value. These true cash values are used by assessors to assess each parcel, which determines the property tax paid by the landowner. Any disputes of these values are decided by local boards of review in March.

“Generally speaking, real estate value doesn’t go down,” he said. “It tends to go up and increase in value. The only exception was when values crashed in 2008” during a recession.

Head of the equalization department since 2004, he said the staff already has begun studying land sales in 2022 to determine property values for 2023.

“Equalization studies is what we spend most of our time on,” he said. “We do other things as well, like go through apportionment in April and work with assessors after the board of review hearings to see all increases we project meet the 50 percent of all true cash value” standard.    



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