It’s property tax season: Summit County valuations see an average increase of more than 50%
Sun Peak homeowner said his valuation went up by 54%, or almost $800,000, in a year
It’s property tax season. White and green slips of paper started arriving in mailboxes last week, and with it came concerns for some residents in the Snyderville Basin and on the East Side, who could see their valuations increase by as much as 50%, 80% or even 300%.
The average increase for all property types throughout Summit County was 68%, but when six outliers are removed, the number drops to around a 47% increase, according to Summit County Assessor Stephanie Poll. The median increase was 35%.
Primary home values increased by 29%, second home values increased by 38% and commercial properties increased by 67%.
The assessor’s office worked hard to fill in valleys, or areas where there had been fewer assessments, after concerns were raised about property tax inequities in Summit and Wasatch counties last year.
“We think this year we’re right where we need to be. All those valleys should be filling in,” Poll said. “Historically, the appraisers [who assess the market value] were only extrapolating those sales to the neighborhood area as opposed to the district. Now, the policy is you have to extrapolate the sales out to a large area. That’s why you’ll see some that have a bigger increase than others.”
There was around a $17 billion market value increase in Summit County for 2023, which is a $5 billion increase compared to last year. The taxable value increased to $13 billion, or almost 38%.
Karen Stone, a real estate agent with Engel & Völkers in Park City, has been receiving loads of calls from clients asking for comps, which are properties in an area that can be compared against another for their value. It is also a valuable resource for people who want to appeal their new tax rate.
Stone began selling in Park City in 2020 and witnessed the hot market spurred by the coronavirus pandemic. She said her residence went up around $200,000 in value last year, which was still less than she could have sold it for.
Nextdoor, a social networking site for neighbors, was flooded with posts from property owners when the tax notices went out. Stone wrote that she would help pull comps for people seeking appeals. She had received about 60 messages by Monday morning from residents who didn’t understand how the valuation could be accurate or those who feared they would have to sell their homes because they can’t afford the increase.
County staffers use data from 2022 when determining the valuation for 2023. The assessor’s office creates a snapshot of what it expects the market will look like using values from the previous year. Properties in Summit County are assessed each year, with a detailed review every five, but there might not be an increase or decrease if there are no sales to justify a change.
A decrease in sales volume since 2022 has created fewer comps, and Utah’s status as a non-disclosure state can also make it harder for the general public to access the sales numbers that do exist, Stone said.
Although there was a 47% decrease in single-family homes sold within the Park City limits and a 39% decrease in the Snyderville Basin, Poll said the average and median sales prices still increased last year. This in turn affects the tax roll.
“People want to know when this is going to end,” Poll said. “We’re following 2023 sales for next year and the first half of the year we’re still seeing average and median sales prices still increasing and those sales times are three months or less.”
Market insights for the second quarter of 2023 show the median sales price for a home in the Park City Limits was $2.5 million, and it was $1.3 million in the Snyderville Basin.
And valuation is bound to remain stable or increase when there is continued demand.
Stone heard from one Sun Peak homeowner who stated his valuation went up by 54%, or almost $800,000 in a year.
When property values rise, the tax rate decreases because county entities cannot take in extra funds. However, other budget increases such as the Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District and the North Summit Fire Service District and school district taxes have contributed to higher bills for some residents.
“Those particular areas are not seeing a leveling or a wash with the valuation increase and tax rate decrease because they are going through Truth-in-Taxation,” Poll explained.
That’s why residents need to consider what they are actually appealing when they receive their tax notice. If the property can be sold at market value, then the rule of thumb says an appeal is likely unjustified.
Stone lives in Newpark and said her bill increased, but it was lower than most. She lives in a condo that’s value increased $173,000 since last year — which Stone felt is inaccurate. That’s on top of the $185,000 increase from when she purchased the property in 2020
“People are hurting,” Stone sympathized. “I’m in a condo where they’re all the same. In a house, that number varies so much greater.”
The assessor’s office last week launched a new tool to help the public better understand the equity of the tax assessment. The web app allows people to examine market values, taxable values, the area factor rate, quality, year built and square footage of properties in Summit County. It also breaks down the price per square foot and shows the percent change from the previous year, which can help show a consistent valuation.
Poll said the heatmap started as a transparency tool but has evolved into an educational resource for many. The map is divided into condominiums, single-family residences and commercial properties. It was created by Matt Boyer, who was hired as a data analyst last year after the Summit County Council approved the new position amid staffing concerns.
The state auditor also recently launched a property value map. Summit County opted out because of privacy concerns, Poll explained.
Summit County taxpayers can file an appeal through the Board of Equalization until 5 p.m. on Sept. 15 if they disagree with their bill. Appeals are on the market value, not the tax amount.
Visit summitcounty.org/Assessor for a list of appraisers for each area.
Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated Stone’s property valuation.
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