Booming housing market likely to lead to higher property taxes across the metro

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LIBERTY, Mo. – The Clay County Assessor’s office notified 85,000 of the 93,000 property owners in the county of an increase in their home’s or commercial property’s value over the weekend. 

“We’ve never sent this many value changes out in the 20 some years I’ve been here, this is humongous,” Clay County Assessor Cathy Rinehart said.

The number of houses on the market is shrinking thanks in part to the pandemic. In Clay County that inventory is down 68% since last year, and decreased supply is leading to skyrocketing home prices. In Johnson County the average sales price is up 21%to more than $400,000 according to the Kansas City Regional Association of REALTORS.

In Wyandotte County and Jackson County, sales prices are up 27% compared to last year. Sales prices are up 20% in Platte County and 16 percent in Clay County.

“The market is just insane,” Rinehart said. 

“In our own neighborhood a house recently went up and in the first weekend they had a half a dozen people look at it. And my understanding is its going to close for more than the asking price,” Clay County homeowner Mike Klamm said.

The assessor hasn’t tabulated the overall increase but said notices like the first one she pulled from her file that saw the appraised value go from $140,000 to $190,000 in the past two years aren’t uncommon. 

“The phones have blown up, not only have they blown up in my office they’ve blown up all over the county anybody that will answer the phones it’s like we can’t get through,” Rinehart said.

People want to know what it will mean for their taxes. According to the Hancock amendment counties can’t make a financial windfall. But because of anticipated lower sales tax revenue they might not be rolling back levies and millage rate that much. 

Residential property owners whose values increased more than 15% can request interior and exterior inspections. The county also will conduct informal meetings between April 12 and May 21 ahead of Board of Equalization Hearings starting in July. 

“It’s going to be daunting, but just be patient, keep calling, we will get to you I promise,” Rinehart said.

As much as homeowners on fixed incomes might not like it, they really are just victims of the market. 

“I think you just start planning now. I think everybody’s got to do that,” Klamm said.

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