Prices are up

Published 3:33 pm Monday, November 9, 2020

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Property assessment reveals average Polk home sales are $357K

COLUMBUS—It is a seller’s market in Polk County lately.

Polk County’s revaluation, which will be effective Jan. 1, 2021, has determined that average home sales are $357,000, up from $259,000 in 2017.  

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The Polk County Board of Commissioners met Monday and heard from tax administrator Melissa Bowlin and a representative from Wampler-Eanes, who is doing the county’s property revaluation. 

Commissioners also learned that the price per square foot of a single family home has increased from $84.50 in 2017 to $112 a square foot. 

The revaluation is about 95 percent complete with a little bit of fieldwork left, mainly in the Columbus area. 

Polk County Assessor Brandon Highsmith detailed the changes since the 2017 revaluation. He spoke about the base square footage rate changing. 

Commissioner Tommy Melton asked why the base rate increased almost $30 per square foot in 4 years. 

Bowlin said the $84.50 base rate was that in 2009 as well so the county is catching up to the actual home rate. 

Highsmith said the square footage rate is based on what houses are selling for. 

The average sale price for a single-family home in 2017 was a little over $257,000 and now is $359,139, which is almost a $100,000 increase in 4 years, or 39 percent. 

Highsmith said the goal of every revaluation is to hit fair market value. 

The state requires property revaluations for every county at least every 8 years. After the county experienced shell shock from increased property values after the 2017 revaluation, commissioners decided to conduct a revaluation every 4 years. 

Commissioners have historically adjusted the tax rate to revenue neutral, so increased property values do not necessarily mean increases in taxes. 

Commissioner Ray Gasperson said the county will adjust the tax rate down. 

“If you see a 30 percent increase in the tax value, that doesn’t mean there will be a 30 percent increase in your tax bill,” said county manager Marche Pittman. 

Commissioners held a public hearing Monday on the schedule of values but there were no citizen comments.