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Property valuations go out this week, and yes, they're going up
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Hall County Tax Assessors Office deputy appraisal clerk Clarissa Flores, left, helps Bobbie Stafford with her paperwork Friday, July 26, 2019, at the Hall County Government Center. - photo by Scott Rogers

Hall County homeowners could possibly pay a higher tax bill after the county’s tax digest rose about 18.7% compared to last year. 

The Hall County Tax Assessor’s Office is sending notices out Friday, May 6, to inform people of their latest property assessment. The housing market has boomed over the past two years nationally and in Hall County with a seller’s market influenced by low interest rates, a shortage of homes and more people moving in from out of state. 

“I would have never believed that the market would have re-surged or even would have continued,” said Steve Watson, the county’s chief appraiser. 

Property owners have until June 20 to appeal their assessments and can do so online, in person or via mail. 

Homeowners who have made no changes to their property over the past year could see double-digit increases, Watson said. The average residence rose in value by about 20%, Watson said, and some homeowners could see increases of 30-40% in attractive subdivisions or for lakeside property. About 84% of all residential property increased in value over the last year, he said. 

“We were fortunate that in the past couple of years we were able to keep the increases to property valuations in the single-digit percentage-wise,” Watson said. “Well, that’s not going to happen (this year). There’s going to be some single-digit increases, but there’s going to be a lot more double-digit increases across the board in Hall County simply because of the resurgence of the market.”

Hall County’s tax digest rose about 7% in 2020, then more than 8% in 2021.

But the hot market will likely not surprise people as much as it could have in the past, he said, because people are more well-informed about sales near them with tools like Zillow and Redfin. And neighboring counties have seen even higher tax digest increases. Gwinnett County, for example, announced an increase of more than 30% in its overall digest, Watson said. Paulding and Forsyth counties also outpaced Hall County’s growth, he said. 

Real property growth was a big contributor to the overall growth with large residential and commercial projects going up in downtown Gainesville such as the Solis apartment complex, Gainesville Renaissance on the square and The National, which is under construction now. Real growth accounts for about 32% of the total increase, up from about 26% last year, meaning more development took place in 2021. 

Personal property accounted for about 25% of the digest, increasing by $540 million compared to last year’s digest. 

But as property values increase, not all property owners will pay more in taxes this year. 

Local governments will receive the official tax digest in the coming weeks after a reconciliation process with the tax commissioner’s office, and government officials can decide to roll back the property tax rate, also called the millage rate. 

A full rollback means the government stays revenue neutral, Watson said, and if a municipality or county does not institute a full rollback, it must hold additional public hearings to justify the decision. 

But even with a rollback, some homeowners can expect to pay more if their home increased in value more than the county’s average. 

The Hall County Board of Tax Assessor’s approved notices for personal and real property Wednesday, May 4, and notices will be sent Friday, May 6.