By Chris Paul
With the real estate market making some monumental surges over the past two years, town officials have determined it is once again time for a town-wide assessment to take place.
At the Monday, Aug. 16 meeting of the Londonderry Town Council, Town Assessor, Steve Hamilton, gave a brief presentation during Public Comment on how the town would be handling the latest revaluations.
Hamilton explained that the Assessing Department has gotten to the point where they need to communicate to taxpayers the results of their revaluation work this year.
The council recently adopted a plan to revalue properties every two years rather than waiting the full five years.
Hamilton said that they have been working on the revaluation of properties since the end of December.
Homeowners will be receiving letters in the next few weeks letting them know what their properties are being assessed at and how much they will be paying in property taxes.
Hamilton told the board that the total value of the town has gone up by about 14 percent over the past two years and added that if this increase were to continue it would be a very significant increase over five years.
He also explained that not all the property classes will be changing in the same way. Single-family properties should expect a 14 percent increase, condominiums, depending on the complex, will be in the range of 12 to 18 percent and manufactured housing will see the largest jump, since many are being updated or replaced. Apartment complexes have jumped by about 20 percent.
According to Hamilton, commercial and industrial properties have not increased as much. Commercial properties are up about five percent while industrial has only gone up by two percent.
“That’s kind of intuitive. All of the growth in the residential property value is about supply and demand. There’s been a very short supply and an unbelievable amount of demand for the housing stock,” Hamilton said.
Notices will be sent out over the next few weeks informing taxpayers of the assessing revaluations and Hamilton said that there will be information available to residents on how they came up with the numbers.
Taxpayers can research the sales of properties through on-line tools such as Vision Look-up on the town website there will also be lists of sales that the assessors have used organized by style, neighborhood and by use of the property.
Hamilton stated that letters will be mailed out next week and it will take about a week to turn around all the notices.
He also explained that the company doing the assessing will be holding informal hearings, where people will be able to call in through the number on the notice and schedule an appointment either in-person or by phone to discuss why the value may have changed on their property.
Hamilton explained that the new process will help with abatements in two ways, “It helps to reduce the number of abatements, but also, for us as valuers, this is the final check on the work we have done. So if we have made a mistake in a neighborhood or in a condo complex we hope to hear that and be able to make those corrections before we send out the tax bills.”
He finished by saying that the assessing department has changed the way they assess condominiums. They no longer add in a value for whatever land rights they may have, it is only assessed on the unit itself.
When asked what this means for the town’s tax collection and how much more the town will be collecting Hamilton replied, “The town through the revaluation process collects no more money.” He explained that the combined assessed value of the town’s property still gets divided up to equal what the budget is.
With property values going up he expects the tax rate to go down depending on town, school and state spending.
He finished by saying that the overall assessed value of the town should be up about 14 percent, but utility properties have not been figured in yet, his company does not do that portion.
According to Hamilton, the letters that taxpayers will receive in the next few weeks will only reflect what their property has been assed at, it will not give them a figure of what they will owe in taxes. That number will be determined once the tax rate has been established in November or December.