Assessments today: Where did the water go?
In the eternal hope to find the signal in the noise, here are some pictures of all that should really matter if we cared about a fair and accurate assessments. These take a selection of most recorded sales transactions in 2010 and compares the sales price actually recorded to the current 2002 base year assessment values in use, and then does the same comparison of 2010 actual sales data to the recently, and briefly, released assessment values that are out in the twilight zone somewhere. and no, I do not have an explanation for why anything like this has not been produced more officially by anyone.
I'll skip a longer explanation, let's just summarize by saying that in the ideal world we never quite reach the sales price and assessed value would be identical. That would put all of these points on the red line I have drawn as a reference there in each graph.
This is clearly all a preliminary look at what could be incomplete data. But given the complete paucity of actual diagnostic data released by the city or county on any of this, we really ought to have some modicum of data to debate with.
So here is what I get first. Which looks like it does a better job?
At first look, the answer seems pretty clear. Certainly everyone over $200K or so in value looks to be valued spot on. Of course it still is the case that most city parcels are valued at the low end of the range there. Probably should zoom in there and look again:
So again, seems pretty close for everything above $100K or so in value. Still can't tell what is going on at the lower end of the range. So again zooming in:
So you would want to see a lot better at the lowest end of the range, but the use of the 2002 base year values at this point sure looks like white noise to me. Still could improve some on the lowest valued properties, but honestly those are always going to be the most difficult. There are a number of things going on in that range. You can see where I cut off the data below $5K. I would discriminate differently if I were doing this more formally. Still a lot of the low valued transaction values are not really arms-length market value transactions (i.e. transfers within a family for example) which may account for more points than you want to seein the top left there. Things like folks flipping properties coming out of foreclosure or post-REO sales all likely are showing up there along with other transactions thay may not represent market valuations. Not to say there are not going to be some debatable valuations at the low end, but it may not be as bad as that last graph might imply.