The hot housing market is impacting property values nationwide, including Walker County. Recently mailed assessment notices show a substantial increase in value for many property owners.
“Numerous people are moving into the area from California, New Jersey and Texas,” according to Terry Gilreath, Chief Appraiser. “People are paying more than the asking price and what that does is it affects every other taxpayer.”
The Greater Chattanooga Realtors organization tracks sales in Walker, Catoosa and Dade counties in northwest Georgia, along with Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee. Their data shows the median sales price in this region increased 17.6% or $39,000 in May to $260,000.
Gilreath called the new assessments the product of an “inflationary increase evaluation.” Appraisers made adjustments to the residential property base value this year, going from $52 to $78 per square foot in order to comply with state law appraisal ratios. “All of these values are from the sales. That’s where we get our information from is the sales,” explained Gilreath.
Even with the adjustments, the Walker County Assessors office is still seeing property sell for $30,000 to $50,000 above the appraised value. “Our office is built for 1,500 deeds to be processed each year,” said Gilreath. “This past year, (we had) 4,000. There’s that many transactions that are going on in Walker County. People want to be here.”
While property values may be higher, Gilreath added that doesn’t necessarily mean property owners will pay more in taxes. The millage rate set by governing authorities, such as the Walker County Board of Commissioners and Walker County Board of Education, will determine how much will be owed in taxes. Those rates will be set later this summer.
Gilreath advised, “If you have any questions about the notices, call the Assessor’s office and we’ll be happy to explain it.” Their number is 706-638-4823.