PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Normally, an increase in property value is good news for a homeowner.
In the past 10 years, property values in Allegheny County have gone up substantially.
Unfortunately for some, this increase in value comes at a time when the county is undergoing a massive reassessment and that spells higher real estate tax bills for many people.
While foreclosures and slumping home sales have plagued the rest of the nation, the region has bucked a national trend – sales and sale prices are up.
“As a region we’ve fared the storm quite well,” Dan Murrer, of RealSTATS, said.
According to RealSTATS, in the past 10 years the median home price for houses sold in Allegheny County has increased 42 percent. Homes in the city have fared even better, increasing by 52 percent.
Good news for homeowners in one sense, but bad news in another.
“There’s no question they’re going to see increases in their assessment,” said Murrer.
The higher your assessment, the higher your tax bill, and some affluent towns have seen staggering increases in value – Hampton Township at 47 percent, Edgewood Boro at 48 percent, Oakmont at 50 percent and towns like Sewickley Heights at 100 percent.
“Just because an assessment goes up 100 percent doesn’t mean that their tax bill is going to go up 100 percent,” said Murrer.
Limiting the increases will be anti-windfall provisions that say municipalities and school districts can’t reap more than a five percent increase in total levies from a reassessment.
But none the less, wealthy homeowners will see an increase where homeowners in poor towns like Mount Oliver will see their tax bills go down.
“If you look at Mount Oliver, the medium home price has gone from $40,000 to $20,000; so those people have seen their investment drop like a rock,” he added.
But when those higher-end homeowners open up their mailboxes and ready their new assessment values, they may not like what they see. The county is expecting as many as 200,000 appeals.