Home values in Douglas County largely have weathered another year without major declines, according to new numbers from the county appraiser’s office.
Douglas County Appraiser Steve Miles will start mailing change of value notices — the statement that shows how much a home’s value has changed from Jan. 1, 2010 to Jan. 1, 2011 — on Feb. 28.
Odds are about 50-50 that a homeowner’s property will have increased slightly in value — at least according to the folks who figure such things for property tax purposes.
“It was a complicated year,” Miles said of pegging the value of Douglas County real estate.
He said a federal tax credit for homebuyers early in the year spurred a lot of activity, but then sales slowed significantly before showing some signs of a rebound in December.
“At one point, we though it was great and that values were really starting to come back,” Miles said. “Then it was like somebody pulled the rug out.”
In the end, Miles said that about 53 percent of all residential property in Douglas County will either see their values hold steady or decline. The remaining 47 percent will see an increase in values, although increases likely will be 3 percent or less.
The values are important because they are used in determining property tax bills for all property in the county.
Here’s a closer look at what homeowners should expect when the statements start arriving around March 1:
• Number of homes declining in value by more than 4 percent: 898 or 3 percent of the county’s total homes.
• Decline of 2 percent to 4 percent: 2,004 or 6.9 percent.
• Decline of less than 2 percent: 6,161 or 21.2 percent.
• No change in value: 6,575 or 22.6 percent.
• Increase of 1 percent or less: 5,431 or 18.7 percent.
• 1.01 percent to 3 percent increase: 4,739 or 16.3 percent.
• 3.01 percent to 5 percent increase: 1,814 or 6.2 percent.
• 5.01 percent or greater increase: 1,368 or 4.7 percent.
Miles said homes in the mid-price ranges — $180,000 to $250,000 — probably were the most likely to see increasing values. Higher-end homes, those $400,000 and above were the most likely to see declining values.
Bob Kocour, president of the Lawrence Board of Realtors and an agent with Stephens Real Estate, largely agreed with Miles’ assessment of the market.
“I think the market is starting to stabilize a little bit,” Kocour said. “Houses are starting to sell again, but it is dependent upon their condition or price. Those homes that need some work or aren’t in the best location are going to be on the market longer. Buyers are being picky right now.”
Property owners will have until March 30 to file an appeal if they believe the county appraiser has erred.