Home valuations jump dramatically, but watchdog group says to expect modest increase in property taxes

Jun 14, 2022, 7:25 PM | Updated: 8:27 pm

UTAH & SALT LAKE COUNTIES — Assessors across Utah are finishing up home valuations for upcoming property tax notices, and two counties are already reporting big increases in values.

The Utah County Assessor’s office told KSL TV that the average value of single-family residential properties jumped 35% over last year.

“Besides the bubble of 2008, I don’t think this has ever happened before, in my experience,” said Utah County chief deputy assessor Burt Garfield.

Garfield said from 2012 to 2020 the county’s average increase for residential properties was about 10% a year, which was already a high rate of increase.

Property valuations are based off of what a home would sell for on Jan. 1 of each year. Utah County’s valuations for 2022 can be viewed online.

The Salt Lake County Assessor’s office said the county’s median increase for residential property values was nearly 29% in 2022.

“This is not typical,” said Salt Lake County Assessor Chris Stavros.

For comparison, Stavros said last year’s increase on residential properties was 11.7%.

Salt Lake County’s 2022 property valuations are also available online.

The Utah Taxpayer Association reminded that Utah law makes it so property tax bills don’t jump just because values jump.

“In Utah, the rate should float down and basically keep taxes, in general, from going up on your home only from the price increase,” said Rusty Cannon, the watchdog group’s president.

In July, counties are required to mail out an official “Notice of Valuation and Tax Changes” to property owners. The notice will include the new assessed value, proposed tax bill, any tax changes and which taxing entities are trying to raise taxes.

“That’s the beauty behind Utah’s Truth in Taxation law is they have to come and show you in public and notice you and explain why, versus just getting a windfall because our property values went up,” Cannon said. “So that’s why we have such a good system and why other states are now copying it.”

The notice, which must be mailed by July 22, will also include the date, time and location of public budget hearings.

“I think what most people can expect is a modest increase in their property taxes,” Cannon said. “But nowhere near the magnitude that everyone thinks it would be because their valuations have gone straight up in some instances.”

Some cities and other taxing entities are considering property tax increases this year. Cannon encourages people to be involved, attend the hearings and voice their opinions to their elected officials.

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“A lot of these hearings won’t happen until July or August, and so you have plenty of time to reach out to your city council member and express your frustration or ask for an explanation as to why,” Cannon said.

If you believe the county has the value of your home wrong, Garfield said you can appeal on the basis that your home wouldn’t sell for the assessed amount, or that the valuation is unfair because other comparable properties were assessed less, or if there is a factual error about the property.

“We want to get this right,” Garfield said. “We don’t want anybody to be overtaxed because their value’s wrong.”

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Home valuations jump dramatically, but watchdog group says to expect modest increase in property taxes