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In Georgia Counties, Home Prices and Appraisals Don’t Add Up Atlanta, GA

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In Georgia Counties, Home Prices and Appraisals Don’t Add Up

Couple Sitting in Front of Pool Behind Their House

Throughout the recession and housing market slump, Georgia has consistently been among the top states in the country for foreclosure. Clearly, this trend affects more than just the individual homeowners who are dealing with the foreclosure of their homes, but also that homeowner’s city, county and state as a whole, who now must deal with a decrease in property tax revenue due to a lower home appraisal. Yet some homeowners are still paying an amount representative of more than their property is worth, and it is causing mass frustration throughout the Atlanta metro area and the state.

Last year, almost half of all home sales in Clayton County were foreclosure sales, bringing with them a great decline in property valuations. Despite this staggering statistic, homeowners did not see the lowered home prices reflected in their 2009 property tax appraisals and bills. This year, however, many home valuations are far lower, causing many to question the accuracy of the system, and whether they are paying too much.

While the average home appraisal value has decreased in many Georgia counties, tax bills have not always coordinated. In Clayton Country, the average appraised home value for 2010 was just over $90,000, which is a 25 percent drop from 2009. While this decrease reflects the increase in foreclosure sales, it fails to reach the average sale price for 2010, which was $10,000 lower.

This may mean that many homeowners are paying more in property taxes than they should, in reflection of their home’s value. While this is troubling, county officials say the drop in home value also means that the county will take in less money this year. In fact, it is estimated that Clayton County’s tax digest decreased by more than $2 billion following a spring 2010 reappraisal of 70,000 homes. “This certainly creates an issue for the county, in terms of revenue,” said Clayton County Chief Appraiser Rodney McDaniel. “The tax digest took a pretty significant hit over this.”

Source: The Atlanta Journal Constitution, “Foreclosures, frustration define Clayton’s market”, Michelle E. Shaw, 20 December 2010

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