Newly-released numbers show residential property values jumping an average of 5.8 percent in Amherst starting Jan. 1, though that’s below the 8.85 percent mean for homes countywide.
The increases were announced July 24 by Lorain County auditor Craig Snodgrass, who said valuations will rise by an average rate of 11.6 percent across all the county.
“The economy is looking better in 2018 than it was in 2012,” he said. “Investments are growing and people want to live here. There’s growth in all areas. Each area, commercial, residential, industrial, and agricultural has a bit of a different story. Residential is pretty straightforward.”
Rate jumps here fall below county averages in all parcel categories.
Commercial jumps in Amherst (17.8 percent) are just below the county’s 18.2 percent average.
Agricultural and industrial values will go up by just 4.4 and 2.5 percent compared to the county’s respective 35.35 and 17.4 percent average jumps.
Parcel values in South Amherst will also jump on average across all categories: residential by 5.6 percent, agricultural by 14.3 percent, commercial by 22.5 percent, and industrial by 2.8 percent.
Snodgrass said around 90 percent of Lorain County’s agricultural properties fall under the Current Agricultural Use Value program. State law allows farm owners to have their land taxed according to its agricultural value instead of its full market value.
It’s important to understand that valuation changes do not necessarily equate to an equal jump in property taxes.
If you want information on changes for your own property, visit www.loraincounty.com/auditor.
Property reevaluations started in 2015 and included more than a year of field work.
County properties are reappraised every six years and each parcel is physically evaluated.
The majority of Amherst will experience a five to 10 percent increase in valuation. Some neighborhoods are slated for zero to five percent jumps, including the Shadylawn Avenue – North Woodhill Drive area located to the immediate north of Steele High School.
Properties just off of Rt. 58 along and near Woodside and Walnut drives have been tabbed for 10 to 20 percent value jumps.
Amherst owners will have the chance to discuss their valuations with appraisers Sept. 17-20 during an informal hearing at Heritage Presbyterian Church, 515 North Leavitt Rd. The meetings will from from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 17 and from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. the final three days.
Nearly 1,200 15-minute sessions are available by appointment as well as 72 daily walk-in spots.
South Amherst owners can visit the New Russia Township Lodge from Aug. 27-30, with meetings there expected to follow the same hourly schedule.
Snodgrass said property owners can expect to receive notifications for the hearings by mail two weeks before they’re held.
Appeals can be filed with the county board of revision through April 2.
The auditor said he expects to see property value jumps level off at some point but not a repeat of the free-fall seen after the 2008 financial crisis.
In 2000, county property values rose by an average of 15.38 percent and jumped by 12.19 percent in 2006. In 2012, during the recession, valuations fell by 7.90 percent.
“There will be fallback at some point,” Snodgrass said. “Will it be as bad as what we experienced in 2009 and 2010? Most likely not. We’ve had steady growth. But again, everything is cyclical. Right now, every indication we have here in 2018 is just booming.”
While property owners will see at least a small hit to their pocketbooks, the Amherst and Firelands school systems are likely to see a sizeable cash windfall.
A January press conference will reveal changes in county property taxes that stem from the rise in valuations, Snodgrass said.
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.