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County should explain rise in home values

Posted: May 29, 2012 - 11:01pm


According to May 8 Atlanta Business Chronicle, home prices in Georgia decreased 7.3 percent in March of this year. The state of Georgia ranks No. 4 in the five states with the greatest home depreciation in the nation. Georgia Watch, the state’s leading consumer advocacy organization, says the value of 2 million Georgia homes decreased by an average of $1,920 in 2011.The average drop in 2012 is expected to number 3 million homes at more than $4,600 per home.

Some home values in Georgia have fallen 30 percent or more in the past two years because of the foreclosure “spillover” effect, causing the value of neighboring properties to depress. One in eight homes is on the verge of foreclosure in Georgia. The Fiserv Case-Shiller Analysis does not show that home values will begin to rise until 2013 or 2014.

Columbia County’s Board of Tax Assessors says my home has increased in value by $27,186 in one year; indeed, most of my neighbors have a $25,000 to $28,000 increase. Columbia County’s home values have increased by 33 percent, while Metro Atlanta values fell 8.1 percent and the rest of Georgia 7.3 percent.

As a 52-year resident of Columbia County, I would like Tom Schneider, Charles Sharpe, Terry Randolph, Linda Loyd and Wes Fuller (the Columbia County Board of Tax Assessors) to explain this Draconian tax increase, reminiscent of King George the Third, whose taxes fermented rebellion among the 13 colonies, and tell us why Columbia County home values increase while they plummet in the rest of our state and nation.

Thomas “Woody” Highsmith


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Comments (4)


I was surprised, too.

A few years ago I appealed after a dramatic increase and they agreed, so I'm not saying anything this time, but my taxes increased by a pretty good amount. This letter explains my reservations, too. There are forsale signs all over the county and values could not have possibly have gone up. By the way, the guy I worked with lives on Louisville Rd towards Harlem and his dropped. Go figure. I would like to see an explanation.

Little Lamb


Today's print edition of the News-Times has several pages of foreclosure legal notices in the Sports section.


This tax increase is a major

This tax increase is a major question and issue. We had the moratorium we all know. Did county tax assessors interpret the end of the moratorium to mean the past years should be caught up? I don't believe that was the intent of the moratorium. Where did these new valuations come from with all the houses on the market? Those poor people trying to sell their houses for a year or more certainly don't feel like they are living the American Dream. How can values be so different where I live with forsale signs close by and values actually dropping in other places in the county? This demands an explanation.


When the 4 year moratorium

When the 4 year moratorium came into place, there were some who said it hurt property owners because it locked the assessments instead of allowing them to drop as we all sensed the value of homes decreasing. Now we are being told valuations were actually going up during those years of the worst housing market in history. Something is not right.

Does the state not trust the counties to assess property fairly so they refused to allow changes during the last 4 years? It may have been easier to point out the inconsistency if we had done it year by year. Now they bury the facts in some nebulous statement about it was for 4 years. Tell me which of those 4 years saw valuations go up enough to offset the previous year.