While values grew by double digits, the county’s coffers won’t see significant increases for critical services
Arapahoe County single family home values grew by 42% over the past two years, almost double the rate of multi-family residential properties, which grew by 22%. Commercial real estate saw a modest 20% increase during the same period, according to numbers released today by Assessor PK Kaiser. The increases give a glance into a housing market that didn’t slow down during the pandemic or into recovery.
“Property values not only stayed firm, they grew exponentially, despite the pandemic and despite tight housing stock and supply chain issues,” said Kaiser. “There was significant migration into the County at a time when new construction wasn’t happening, and values are reflective of that reality.”
The findings are important as the County, local municipalities and the state grapple with the affordable housing crisis and the budget constraints that accompany growth. Even with the large increase in residential valuations, the County will only receive a small portion—13 percent—of the revenue from property taxes, due to caps by the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR). That law restricts the county’s revenue growth in recent years to around 5% to 7% year over year depending on inflation and new construction, the remaining - 87 percent - of the tax revenue is distributed to the more than 420 special districts in the County, mainly school, fire, recreation, library districts as well as cities and towns.
For example, if an average home valued at $500,000 has a property tax bill of $3,400, the County only retains about $430 to provide critical services that residents expect, such as public safety and road maintenance, which clearly does not cover the cost of such services. Current growth projections suggest that the County will add almost 200,000 new residents in the next seven years, so this challenge will be further compounded absent an increase in the County’s revenues.
The county’s largest growth is in established cities, such as Aurora, Englewood and Littleton, which are seeing record demand for single family and multi-family homes. These areas are ripe for redevelopment and infill, which is driving up prices as investors replace $400,000 single family homes with duplex/triplex/quadplexes selling for more than $800,000.
By state statute, county assessors must value real property every two years and use sales from a specific time frame for residential property. The new 2023 valuations are based on market sales data from July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2022. For the 2023 tax year, the residential assessment rate will be - 6.765 percent – and under current law the first $15,000 of actual value is exempt from taxation. The commercial assessment rate will be - 27.9 percent -, under current law the first $30,000 of actual value is exempt from taxation. These valuations will be used for tax years 2023 and 2024 (payable in 2024 and 2025 respectively). This biannual re-evaluation process provides property owners with the actual value of their property, and the ability to file a protest, if necessary.
“We take pride in ensuring that assessed values are as accurate and fair as possible. Our goal is to provide property owners with confidence in the assessment process and to be transparent in our methods,” said Kaiser. “I urge all property owners to review the Notice of Value and compare it with similar properties in the area. If you believe there is any error, please file a protest.”
Filing a protest
Property owners may file protests from May 1 – June 8. New this year, property owners can scan a QR code on the postcard to start an appeal. The code provides easy access to the online appeal system and simplifies the process for property owners who prefer to submit protests electronically. Owners can also submit protests in-person at the Assessor’s Office in Littleton.
The following remote appeals dates and locations are typically reserved for older adults of the following communities:
- Wednesday, May 10, 12-5 p.m. Town of Byers - Kelver Library
- Wednesday, May 17, 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. Heritage Eagle Bend
- Wednesday, May 24, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. Heather Gardens
For more information on Notice of Value and protest procedures visit: Arapahoe County Assessor