Troy property assessments continue upward trend

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published March 4, 2015

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Mike O’Neill has lived in the same home in the Square Lake and Rochester area for the past 40 years. He describes the homes in his neighborhood as “unique to each other.”

He was surprised to open his home assessment last week and learn that his home was assessed for over 25 percent more than last year.

“I’ve made no improvements,” he said. 

O’Neill said that two homes near him recently sold — one for what he feels was way above market value and one that sold for below what he felt was market value. 

Troy City Assessor Nino Licari said that, on average, home assessments increased 12.18 percent citywide. Home assessments reflect half of the market value of the home, according to Licari.

Licari added that a small number of homeowners saw a small decrease, while some homeowners saw a 20 to 30 percent increase in home assessments.

“The residential market exploded,” Licari said.

He explained that when the residential sales market is on an upswing, the state requires municipalities and counties to base assessments on a two-year market study. When the market is on a downturn, the assessments are based on a one-year market study.

“Taxes are protected by the rate of inflation,” Licari said. Proposal A caps home property tax increases to the current Consumer Price Index or 5 percent, whichever is less.

Dave Heiber, equalization manager for Oakland County, which directly handles assessments for 32 communities in Oakland County, not including Troy, said the average increase in assessments in Oakland County this year is 11.5 percent.

Heiber said that last year home assessments increased 8 percent, on average, across the county and 1.1 percent in 2013.

“This follows a six-year decline,” Heiber said.

The upside of this is that homeowners have built more equity in their homes, he said. He added that homeowners who have placed a home in a trust should make sure their assessing office does not think the property has transferred owners. Also, those who own multiple homes as rental property should make sure the assessor knows which home is the principal residence, which qualifies for a lower school millage assessment.

In Troy, residential appraised value went up an average of 11.3 percent last year. Troy residents may see how much homes in their neighborhoods have sold for by either calling the assessing office at (248) 524-3311 or visiting www.troymi.gov and clicking on the assessing link to the sales study, which also includes condominium sales, Licari said.

Homeowners may appeal their assessed taxable value unless the home was sold in 2014. Residents may appeal their assessment through March 10 before the Board of Review by calling (248) 524-3311 to make an appointment or submit a request in writing so it is received on or before 4:30 p.m. March 10.

Licari explained that in order to change the estimated taxes, the 2015 assessed value must be lower than the taxable value.

“In other words, you must be able to prove that the home’s market value is less than two times the taxable value,” Licari said via email. “Reductions in assessed value or state equalized value that do not lower the assessed value to a point below the current taxable value will not lower taxes.”

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