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Property values increase, taxes decrease

On May 1, the El Paso County assessorís office sent out valuation notices to all property owners within the county. Steve Schleiker, EPC assessor, said this reassessment year is unique because property values went up in general, while property taxes decreased.ìFor this assessment year, 98 percent of our single-family residences increased in value,î he said. However, property taxes decreased because the Gallagher Amendment kicked in, Schleiker said.According to the Colorado Department of Treasuryís website, the Gallagher Amendment was adopted into the stateís constitution by voters in 1982. ìUnder the Gallagher Amendment, the portion of residential property that is subject to taxation (called the ëassessed valueí) drops when residential property values statewide grow faster than nonresidential properties.îSchleiker said when taxes from residential properties account for more than 45 percent of the total property tax amount collected by the state, residential property taxes decrease; which is the reason property owners are seeing an increase in assessed value but a decrease in taxes, he said.ìThe Falcon area saw a valuation increase of 10.94 percent from the 2015-2016 reappraisal period to the current one,î Schleiker said. ìPeyton saw an almost 15 percent increase.îThe increase in property values can be attributed to several factors, he said. The time each property is on the market has gone down; the amount of home sales has gone up; new homes are being constructed in several locations in the county; and homes are being sold for more than the asking price, Schleiker said.Carrie Lukins, a Realtor with State Alliance Realty, has been in the real estate business in Falcon for 10 years. She said homes are being sold quickly, for much more money than just a few years ago.ìThe average price a single-family home has sold for is $311,857 in the Falcon area alone,î she said. ìThe average amount of days on the market, from the time of listing to the time of closing, is 44 days; with a 30 to 45-day closing period. I listed a home a few weeks ago at $235,000 in the Falcon area and the first day, I had nine showings and three offers.îLukins said while there could be concern the market will crash again like it did in 2007 and 2008, lending practices have changed to avert the same scenario. The market will begin to stabilize, but it is not going to crash, she said. New lending guidelines have put into place more stringent qualifications for obtaining a mortgage, Lukins said.ìA lot of people learned their lesson over the last 10 years and have taken the steps necessary to be wiser with their money and have bigger purchasing power,î she said.Schleiker agreed and said bad lending practices, like interest-only loans or loans that did not require a down payment are no longer being offered. The market is hot right now because people want to live in El Paso County, he said.Lukins said the market is a sellerís market right now, which is affecting rent prices. ìThere is not a lot of negotiating room for buyers,î she said. ìIf a buyer is not willing to pay the asking price, another buyer will be. But people are getting discouraged because homes are often on the market for less than three weeks; and people will put in multiple offers and get beat out each time. They are willing to pay the higher rent prices because they have to have a place to go.îIn Falcon, the average single-family home rental rate is about $1,450 per month but can reach as high as $2,500 for upgraded properties, she said.Schleiker said the booming rental industry is spurring on an increase in the construction of apartment complexes. Having more units on the market should stabilize rent prices or even bring them down, he said.Commercial and agricultural property values are also on the rise, which is another indicator of a strong market, Schleiker said. According to the data, commercial properties increased between 8 and 10 percent, while agricultural property increased between 5 and 8 percent, he said.ìThe bottom line is that our No. 1 asset, our home, is appreciating in value,î Schleiker said. ìEven when taxes start to go up, they are not going to go up that much.î

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