ELYRIA — Property values across Lorain County have increased by an average of 11.6 percent, according to Lorain County Auditor Craig Snodgrass.
The county auditor’s office recently completed the reappraisal of county properties, which must occur every six years, by law.
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“This is much different than what we do every three years, which is basically just a computerized, sales-driven update of values,” Snodgrass said. “Our actual reappraisal is where we actually go out and look at every one of the 166,000 parcels and physically view them — look at age, condition and verifying that our information and records are accurate and correct.”
Beginning today, property owners can see the 2018 valuations for their property by visiting www.loraincounty.com/auditor, Snodgrass said.
Overall, all areas of the county have seen some growth in property values.
“Everybody has had some type of increase,” Snodgrass said. “Some are healthier than others and doing a little stronger, but overall in the last three years we’ve seen growth in all the cities.”
North Ridgeville has seen the biggest increase in residential value for cities in the county, with property values increasing by 12.1 percent, on average. Avon was close behind, with an average increase of 11.8 percent from the 2015 numbers.
Brighton Township saw the biggest jump, with a 26.5 percent increase in average property values. Snodgrass said those numbers can be a bit deceiving, though.
“In particular, in Brighton, the effect of agricultural land values changing significantly also has an impact on residential values,” Fred Westbrook, with the auditor’s office, said. “For those properties that have more than one acre, the other acreages are valued at the agricultural rate. By virtue of the fact that those rates went up, it kind of skews the number for residential as well.”
On average, residential property values in the county increased by 8.85 percent, agricultural property values increased by 35.35 percent, industrial by 17.4 percent and commercial property by 18.2 percent.
Property values are continuing to increase after dropping significantly due to the housing market crash and Great Recession that began in December 2007. In 2000, property values in the county increased by 15.38 percent. In 2006, they climbed another 12.19 percent, but in 2012, they dropped 7.9 percent, according to Snodgrass.
“Things are going up in Lorain County. That’s a great thing for the county,” Snodgrass said. “Our investments are growing. People want to live here; they’re buying houses here. They’re spending money here, and it keeps driving the economy. The real estate market is one of the biggest drivers of that.”
Just because property values have increased by 11.6 percent across the county doesn’t mean that taxes will necessarily increase at the same rate, Snodgrass said.
“The levies for next year haven’t been decided upon,” he said. “There are elections here in November that will affect rates. It varies in each community. Some areas are going to go up a little more in some areas, but it’s not like just because values are going up 11.6 percent that taxes are going up 11.6 percent.”
Snodgrass’ office will be sending out letters to property owners informing them of the 2018 property valuation. For those who have questions about their property’s value or disagree with the valuation, Snodgrass’ office will give them the opportunity to sit down with an appraiser for an informal review hearing.
The county is being divided into four sections, with each section having the letters sent out at different times over the next couple months. Each section of the county will have a location where the informal hearings will take place.
Property owners can make appointments for one of the 1,184 15-minute sessions at each location. An additional 72 walk-in appointments will be available each day at each location.
- Property owners in Avon, Avon Lake, Sheffield Lake, Sheffield and Sheffield Township will be able to schedule reviews Aug. 13 to 16 at the Joyce Hanks Community Center in Sheffield Lake.
- On Sept. 10 to 13, informal hearings will be held at the Lorain County Community College Ridge Campus in North Ridgeville for properties in Elyria, North Ridgeville and Elyria Township.
- The Heritage Presbyterian Church in Amherst will host hearing for Lorain, Amherst, Vermilion, South Amherst, Amherst Township and Brownhelm Township on Sept. 17 to 20.
- Hearings for the rest of the county will be Aug. 27 to 30 at the Lodge of New Russia Township.
Snodgrass said letters on the new valuations will be sent out closer to the time when the informal hearings will be, so some property owners will get their letters sooner than others. The letters will contain instructions on how to make appointments online or by phone.
Taxpayers will be able to file appeals with the Board of Revision until April 2 to contest property values.