Call for Property Taxes to Reflect South Carolina Foreclosures

by Donald Hanz on States

Homeowners have complained that they are being required to pay taxes on properties based on their worth prior to the recession and the onslaught of South Carolina foreclosures. According to owners, coastal and high end properties are the ones hit hardest by the alleged property tax imbalance.

Despite high numbers of pre foreclosures and actual foreclosures among high end dwellings that cause these properties' values to drop, property taxes are said to be in the same level as when the homes are enjoying regular and above market values.

Property taxes have become a hot issue in the state following the recession and the housing market crisis which resulted in a lot of dwellings suffering from all types of foreclosures, including JP Morgan Chase real estate foreclosures, government foreclosures and other bank foreclosures. The crisis also led to thousands of homes being sold at prices that are lower than the houses' original worth.

According to realtors, homes that used to be worth around $400,000 are now available to people who wish to buy home foreclosures and new dwellings at five to 50% less than their worth prior to the recession period.

The problem, according to real estate experts, originates from the fact that local areas assess house values only every five years, which means that the factor of South Carolina foreclosures has yet to reflect on the assessment value and most homes end up being taxed based on their true values five years ago.

Some high end dwelling owners have also raised the issue of assessors reducing home values but not for high end and coastal dwellings. In addition, homeowners, particularly second owners, have to deal with alleged fraudulent activities related to the taxation process. On the part of tax officials, they stated that there are some homeowners who are taking advantage of the low tax rate for agricultural properties and land.

Although tax appeals have declined in 2010, complaints regarding assessments for high end properties have risen. Owners have reportedly complained mostly about the 2009 assessment wherein 2008 comparable values were used. However, the housing market bottomed out in 2009, so the assessments are said to be unbalanced.

Another major concern for owners of properties priced within the $400,000 range is that this category has been hit hard by South Carolina foreclosures. Homes under this price range suffered more from drastic decline in prices compared with cheaper residences.

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