Buncombe County property values see $6.8 billion increase

Property values are going up across the county at different intervals. The increase represents a change of about $6.8 billion from the last assessment in 2012.
Property values are going up across the county at different intervals. The increase represents a change of about $6.8 billion from the last assessment in 2012. Graphic courtesy of Buncombe County

The table is set for Buncombe County Commissioners to see more than $41 million in extra revenue from property owners for the next fiscal year, if they keep the same the tax rate — according to preliminary numbers from the county tax department’s recently finished property tax reappraisal.

Those numbers, subject to revisions from appeals, show that the county’s 2017 property tax base now stands at about $31.5 billion. That’s up by $6.8 billion, a 28 percent increase from the county’s 2013 assessment, which valued taxable property at $24.7 billion. The 2017 value is up 41 percent from 2006’s taxable value ($22.3 billion).

To put the numbers in perspective, the potential $41 million in new tax revenue (based on the county’s current tax rate of 60.4 cents per $100 of valued property) would equal 10 percent of the county’s current overall budget of $413,574,951. However, the $41 million could fluctuate based on what commissioners do with fiscal year 2018’s property tax rate and will likely be a topic of discussion during the commissioners’ retreat Feb. 17. However, setting the rate likely won’t come to a vote until June, when the current fiscal year ends. Commissioners requested the reappraisal in April of 2016.

Property owners in the city of Asheville will see the largest increases. Downtown has the highest increase with an average property value increase of 44 percent. Areas like North-West Asheville and Kenilworth are both looking at an average property value increase of 40 percent and, on the low end, South Asheville and Sand Hill properties are experiencing an average of 17 and 19 percent increases, respectively.

RevalPerArea_City

Outside of Asheville, the biggest increase is in Woodfin and Weaverville, both with an average increase of 32 percent. Montreat and Sandy Mush come in with the lowest average increases, both at 3 percent.

However, Gary Roberts, the county’s tax director says, “We don’t look at percent change on the maps. Even in those neighborhoods, those changes are all over the place. That’s just an average of that whole area.”

“I’m sure it’s a shocker, no doubt. And everybody’s scared their tax bill will go up, that’s a given,” notes Roberts, who says the assessed value should represent what a property owner believes they could sell their home for.

“The head-scratcher in this [reappraisal] is how quick the market has come back and where we’re at today versus where we were at in 2013,” notes Keith Miller, the county’s real estate manager. “I think every citizen with their hand in the market is saying, ‘What in the world is going on?’ because of that fast change. We have skyrocketed past any level that we’ve ever been at in Buncombe County as far as days on market and average sales price.”

“Just because your [area] went up 30 percent doesn’t mean your bill will go up 30 percent. [People] need to wait to see what commissioners do with the [property tax] rate. We don’t have anything to do with the rate,” notes Miller.

Miller continues, “The change you see, 30-40 percent, that’s the market driving the number, not us. It’s the real estate market … over the last three years, we’ve analyzed about 16,000 transactions. All those transactions are what sets the values.”

And if you think your value isn’t correct then the county’s tax department definitely wants to hear from you. Roberts says, “Anytime we have the opportunity to talk to a citizen, that gives us the opportunity to update the information we have in our computer database, to do a better assessment. So we don’t mind an appeal at all,” he notes.

Roberts says during the reappraisal in 2006, the county saw roughly 15,000 appeals while the last revaluation in 2013 had about 6,000 appeals. Miller accounts the 2013 drop to a slumping market, “So 2013 was different because values were down. A lot of people were not contesting, they were comfortable with it … We expect with these changes we’ll be back to about 15-16,000 [appeals].”

Roberts agrees, “We’ll be busy the first couple of weeks, no doubt … We want people to contact us. If a citizen is nervous or concerned, I really want to hear from them.”

The county will begin mailing reassessed property values on Friday, Jan. 27. If you want to contest your value, you can do so online here, or call the county at 250-4940.

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About Dan Hesse
I grew up outside of Atlanta and moved to WNC in 2001 to attend Montreat College. After college, I worked at NewsRadio 570 WWNC as an anchor/reporter and covered Asheville City Council and the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners starting in 2004. During that time I also completed WCU's Master of Public Administration program. You can reach me at dhesse@mountainx.com.

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14 thoughts on “Buncombe County property values see $6.8 billion increase

  1. A lot of sugar coating by the bureaucrats. If an area’s average rate is going up by 30% the only way your rate isn’t going up by 30% is if some other guy’s is going up more than 30%.

    When assessments went down, the city and county had no problem jacking up rates to offset. Now with skyrocketing assessments, they going to do the right thing and lower rates or sit on their hands?

    • luther blissett

      “If an area’s average rate is going up by 30% the only way your rate isn’t going up by 30% is if some other guy’s is going up more than 30%.”

      Standard response: would you put your property on the market at its current assessed value?

      “they going to do the right thing and lower rates or sit on their hands?”

      Brownie Newman told C-T very plainly that the aim was to have a revenue-neutral budget, and even if it wasn’t exactly revenue-neutral, he’d expect a lower rate.

      Quote:

      “I think I can say with confidence that the county is going to lower the tax rate, so everyone’s property tax bill is not going to go up in proportion to the changes in their property values,” said Brownie Newman, chairman of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners. “It’s too early at this time to know exactly how much it will be lowered. We haven’t even started our budgeting process yet.”

      “A revenue-neutral tax rate, in which the amount of tax collected would remain relatively unchanged from the previous year, is the goal, Chairman Newman said.”

      So the premise of this piece is misleading, because there’s no indication the commission wants to keep the rate where it is.

      (Lulzy may soon owe the commission an apology.)

  2. Native Ashevillian

    Raised, educated & employed in Asheville for over 35 years. Most of the old school Ashevillians who made this town (now a city!) desirable definitely cannot afford the outrageous real estate prices and many are still barely earning a “starvation wage”. Many of us have worked very hard to build this city and surrounding towns just to be priced out of our own market years ago by the glimmer of gold from California, Florida, New Jersey, etc. Did you know that you can rent or purchase a 3 bedroom home in Greensboro (where there are many excellent paying jobs paying 25%+ of what local pay is) for 50-75% less than what it costs in Asheville? The “new Asheville” amusement park will never know how cool, authentic and raw the real Asheville of yore was, and still is, in the underground. Come one, come all…pay $300,000+ for a 1500 sqft home…but pay the taxes that go with the property values. Hopefully, in addition to making a bunch of non local Realtors and “Developers” even more frenzied to desecrate this sweet land while filling their pockets with trinkets, it will increase the infrastructure to support the burden of the mass influx too. Has anyone ever considered why people leave the other urban jungles they over developed? Food for thought. Viva la Revolucion!

    • Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

      “The “new Asheville” amusement park will never know how cool, authentic and raw the real Asheville of yore was,…”

      They will never know what it was like to pick blueberries for hours on Mt Pisgah and Graveyard Fields, expecting to come upon a bear rather than another person. And they think they’ve improved the place. I kind of feel like I’m watching a freak show now.

      • Native Ashevillian

        Beautiful Snowflake…just beautiful…been there, done exactly that ;)

  3. Deplorable Infidel

    except that, with controlling liberal progressives, they can turn it into a county windfall at their whims…and no apology needed to counter anything Newman may ever say…

    • luther blissett

      Newman wants revenue-neutral. He’s gone on record as soon as the reassessment was complete to say that the only big new consideration for the budget is the K-3 class size mandate from Raleigh. He could have chosen not to say it.

      Newman plus Fryar plus Pressley plus Belcher equals… how many?

      • Lulz

        LOL, Newman needs to be fully investigated for any possible criminal activity in relation to his solar panel company and government funding. And if found guilty, fined and imprisoned.

        • luther blissett

          ITYM “I was wrong to assert that the reassessment would be used for a large tax hike and I apologize.”

    • Lulz

      And through all this not one peep of the 500 million exempt from taxation. Or is it one billion now? But that’s OK because those exempt simply swoop in and buy the once taxed property because those who formerly owned it sold out. Mission is a huge beneficiary of this type of corruption and an owner of many prime property locations.

  4. Curious

    Is it time for a taxpayer revolt and a Proposition 13?
    Limit the tax rate for properties:

    Section 1. (a) The maximum amount of any ad valorem tax on real property shall not exceed one percent (1%) of the full cash value of such property. The one percent (1%) tax to be collected by the counties and apportioned according to law to the districts within the counties.
    — California Constitution Article XIII

    Proposition 13 declared property taxes were to be assessed their 1975 value and restricted annual increases of the tax to an inflation factor, not to exceed 2% per value. A reassessment of the property tax can only be made a) when the property ownership changes or b) there is construction done.[2]

    • Lulz

      Too much crony capitalism for that to happen. After all, when you take the water revenues and use it to gentrify the RAD and then manipulate the fools to pass a fake bond scam to make up for the ignored infrastructure, the leeches have what they want. A willing and complacent voting bloc of people that can afford the fraud. Or just plain stupid enough to not care.

      • Lulz

        And why people ignore their own dwindling services while paying more so Biltmore can basically have a rehabbed suburb around them is beyond comprehension.

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