Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Sunday

March 10, 2013

Upswing in regional property values

TRAVERSE CITY — A gradual upturn in Grand Traverse region property values means many homeowners should prepare themselves for higher property tax bills.

Traverse City and most of the townships in Grand Traverse County will see overall residential property assessments remain flat or rise by up to 5 percent. Higher property values effectively halt a slide prompted by the national housing market crash in 2008 that stripped more than 20 percent of the value from residential properties in some local townships.

Traverse City homeowners are witnessing the first significant overall property values increase -- 3 percent -- in four years.

“We’re pretty lucky being the city; the city has fared pretty well throughout all of this,” said Polly Cairns, Traverse City’s assessor. “We still have some pockets of foreclosures, but everything seems to be increasing, whether it’s a lot or a little.”

Overall residential values in the city dropped 1.7 percent in the previous 4 years.

Countywide, Grand Traverse values will increase about 1.5 percent, said Equalization Director James Baker, the county’s top assessor. That’s slightly better than surrounding counties that saw residential assessments remain flat or slightly decline.

“It appears the market has bottomed overall; there’s more turnover of homes and things have stabilized now,” Baker said.

More sales in Blair Township’s subdivisions helped stabilize prices, assessor Aaron Plowman said. The township lost more than 20 percent of its value the previous four years, but will see a 4 percent gain this year.

“We have a lot of starter homes out here and I think a lot of young people are looking to Blair,” Plowman said.

Seth Rousseau bought a home in Blair’s Boardman Ponds subdivision two years ago, after moving here from Saginaw.

“The last home we owned, the bottom fell out and we took a bath on it,” Rousseau said. “So its good to know our property value is going up.”

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