Washtenaw County residential property values 'stabilizing and improving' in 2013
Courtney Sacco | AnnArbor.com
Initial assessment reports by the county’s equalization department shows seven communities experienced a drop in home values, ranging from less than 1 percent to 4 percent.
“Those are very minor decreases,” said Washtenaw County Equalization Department director Raman Patel.
“Property values have been stabilizing and improving,” he continued.
The communities with the highest gains in residential property values include: Salem Township (6.95 percent), Milan (5.7 percent), Chelsea (3.92 percent), Scio Township (3.51 percent), Saline (3.19 percent), and Webster Township (3.19 percent).
The largest value drops were in Sharon Township (4 percent), Bridgewater Township (1.93 percent), and Lodi Township (1.54 percent).
The changes reflect averages across a community and individual homeowners will still see variations in their own assessed values, Patel said. And because the county data excludes short sales and foreclosures, certain neighborhoods could find more intense pricing pressures.
“This is a lot better than last year and the year before, so the market is coming back, but it’s still going to take a couple years,” Patel said.
“When I say the market is stabilizing, it doesn’t mean nobody will get an increase (in value) or nobody will get a decrease,” he continued.
The county studies home sales from 2010 and 2011 to determine the values and homeowners are mailed new assessments — along with a separate taxable value — by early March. Owners can then appeal assessments at Board of Review meetings that month. Assessed values are based on 50 percent of market value as required by Michigan law.
Overall, Washtenaw County shows a roughly 2 percent gain in home values. Ann Arbor averages a 2.71 gain, while Ypsilanti averages a 1.58 percent gain in value — a major improvement over last year’s 8 percent drop.
In 2012, residential property values only increased in eight communities. In 2011, four communities saw value increases. In 2009, none of the communities experienced gains and 14 had double-digit losses.
Ypsilanti's value gain is indicative of increasing sale prices. Although the average home sale in 2012 was the county's lowest at $96,636, it marks a 16.8 percent increase over 2011.
"Ypsilanti used to go down (in value) a lot," Patel said. "It's improving."
"I think we're very cautiously optimistic," said Ypsilanti city planner Teresa Gillotti. "With the (housing market) decline so many years in a row, we weren't expecting it would swing back up quite yet...our tax base took a huge hit last year in particular, so it's nice to see it even going up a little."
Countywide, the average home sale price in 2012 was $210,616, according to the Ann Arbor Area Board of Realtors. Since 2009, sale prices in the county have increased by 15.5 percent, although sale prices are still below the county’s high of $266,600 in 2005.
“Most of the submarkets are at least trending in the right direction,” said Peter Hendershot, an appraiser with Affinity Valuation Group in Ann Arbor. “They’re still below 2006 values, but they’re at least trending in an upward direction.”
Meanwhile, local Realtors are reporting low inventory levels and increasing demand from buyers in Washtenaw County.
“We’ve returned to low inventory, high demand, increasing average sale price and lower days on the market,” said Real Estate One’s Matt Dejanovich in a previous report on AnnArbor.com.
Hendershot said foreclosure activity in the county is also declining, although Realtytrac still ranks Michigan 7th nationally in the number of foreclosures. Hendershot said there were about 36 foreclosures per month in the county in 2010, compared with 31 per month in 2012.
“There’s still a lot of inventory out there, but at least it’s declining,” he said.
Below are the initial residential property assessments from the county for 2013, separated by municipality and with value losses bolded:
- Ann Arbor 2.71
- Chelsea 3.92
- Milan 5.7
- Saline 3.19
- Ypsilanti 1.58
- Ann Arbor 1.72
- Augusta -1.48
- Bridgewater -1.93
- Dexter 2.29
- Freedom -.76
- Lima 1.15
- Lodi -1.54
- Lyndon .26
- Manchester 1.56
- Northfield 2.39
- Pittsfield 3
- Salem 6.95
- Saline .96
- Scio 3.51
- Sharon -4
- Superior .52
- Sylvan -.34
- Webster 3.19
- York 5.6 percent
- Ypsilanti -.24