Every five years, the Guilford County Tax Department conducts a total revaluation of all the property in the county to establish that property’s current tax value.
Those numbers for the next revaluation won’t go on the county’s books until next year. However, county officials are already looking at those figures – which suggest a possible giant property tax windfall for 2022 and beyond.
Since the prices of land, houses and buildings have been shooting up in recent years, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners will have a lot more money to spend in the future without raising the tax rate.
If the board were run by a Republican majority like the ones of the past eight years, the increased property valuations wouldn’t mean any tax revenue increase because those boards held taxes “revenue neutral” after countywide revaluations. That is, the boards lowered the tax rate to a level that maintained the previous amount of revenue.
However, Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston has said several times that, after the next revaluation, his recommendation to the board will be to keep the tax rate at the same level it is currently, and use that extra money for county government needs.
Estimates of additional income at this point are that the board may have an extra $50 million to $55 million to spend after the revaluations. No one knows exactly what the number will be, but it will be a lot. If housing prices continue to rise in 2021, the Board of Commissioners could have even more money at their disposal than the numbers now suggest.
Guilford County Tax Director Ben Chavis, who is heading up the revaluation, said the numbers aren’t all in, but there’s no question the tax base looks to be much larger unless something drastic happens in the second half of 2021.
“We do anticipate that the total growth in the tax base will be significantly higher than the previous two reappraisals,” Chavis said.
He said his department is watching the numbers closely as they come in.
“A word of caution in that we do not know what will happen to the real estate economy in the second half of the year,” Chavis said this week. “Also, residential properties make up only a portion of the real property tax base. Commercial properties have appreciated differently over the last five years.”
According to numbers from the Tax Department that were collected from Triad MLS (Multiple Listing Services), the average selling prices for homes sold through MLS has gone up every year since the last revaluation. Here are those gains:
2017 – 4 percent
2018 – 6 percent
2019 – 5.7 percent
2020 – 9 percent
The numbers for 2021 aren’t complete but so far they indicate significant appreciation in home prices this year as well.