Foreclosures and Effects on Property Taxes

by Donald Hanz on Foreclosure Rates

In most cities, you will find the same scene – declining home prices in neighborhoods as a result of the many bank foreclosure properties. For many homeowners, it is only logical for the taxes on their homes to be reduced considering the falling property values. Unfortunately, local assessor’s offices do not consider this a valid reason.

To clarify things, it is not the distressed homes, which are about to be sold off in a foreclosure auction, that are being discussed here. It is actually the growing number of real estate owned homes being sold, which are dragging down property values in most neighborhoods.

Bank foreclosures are actually homes that have been reverted to the mortgage lenders since they were not sold off during foreclosure auctions. A significant proportion of these bank foreclosures are usually sold off at a price that is way below their current market value. Most of the sellers would simply like to reduce inventory and are usually not concerned if they are affecting property values in the neighborhood.

In the determination of property values, an assessor will usually value it based on the sale of non-foreclosure properties and non-bank owned. Although this is usually the procedure that is followed, many homeowners are complaining that the great number of bank foreclosures for sale has significantly affected home prices in the area and thus, should be considered during property valuation. By not doing so, they are distorting that fair value of the other properties.

Distressed homeowners, who are still trying hard to pay their mortgages, are now trapped in homes that are worth 60 percent less than what they paid for initially and paying unfair property taxes.

Nationwide, local governments are feeling the effects of the foreclosure crisis in terms of low tax collection. Analysts are predicting more than one million homes will be in some stage of foreclosure by the end of this year.