Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Henry George is Kaput

So if you read the latest on property assessments in the PG today : 10 percent appealing assessments, there was an interesting obituary for Henry George there between the lines. 
There was this quote reported direct from Judge Wettick:
Separate land values were "really confusing people" and many appeared to "make no sense," Judge Wettick told Mr. Graham.
Suffice it to say that if the judge at this point does not pay much heed to the land values, I am pretty sure the other 99.9% of the county thinks less about it.  No memory at all in the region that the city of Pittsburgh was once the largest implementation of Henry George's Land Tax concept in the United States.  There was once a time when some thought the   Henry George Club ran Pittsburgh. All just history.

Well, others still do care though. It turns out the folks at the Lincoln Insitute have a metro by metro index of how real estate values break down between land and structure value. At the risk of further confusing everyone, the methodologies are probably differnt enough that you should not compare directly to the values you are looking at in your Allegheny County assessment value.  Still worth looking at and their most recent data looks like this:

Too big a topic for the day to get into what Pittsburgh's ranking there means.  But even post bubble... lots of place in other regions.

Location, location location.  Reminds me a bit of the great Pittsburgh Hipster quote that Toland snagged out there


Anonymous MH said...

Is it a bad sign that we're below Detroit or am I missing something?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012 10:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Dawn K said...

Our land value doesn't make any sense at all. We own a townhouse with a 3,874 sqft lot in Robinson Twp. The land portion of our assessment is $39,700. Several of the people in the neighborhood were questioning the land value since they (of course) looked at that value and said "an acre of land in Robinson is in no way worth over $400K." The old land value didn't make sense either.

Our land+building assessment made sense so I can't complain too much (we purchased in late 2009), but the separate land values really confused some people.

I wonder how they determined the split of values for the land versus the building?

Thursday, March 22, 2012 8:18:00 AM  
Anonymous MH said...

In a residential area with reasonable demand for housing as well as zoning laws, I think you'd expect the price of ten 1/10th of an acre lots to be much more than the price of one ten-acre lot. You've got two factors in the price of land: (A) land qua land and (B) the right to build a house. In this case, (A) is the same but (B) is very different.

Thursday, March 22, 2012 9:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The City of Pittsburgh used to tax land and improvements at different rates prior to the 2001 reassessment. Land was, I recall, taxed at a higher millage to encourage improvements. The hue and cry then forced the Murphy administration to bend to the "will of the people" and the City pivoted to a unified millage structure. If my memory is correct, only Duquesne, Clairton and McKeesport still tax land and improvements at a separate rate, so that is why the assessment notices are broken out this way. For the vast majority of property owners, pay no attention to the land value or the building value. The total value is all that matters.

Thursday, March 22, 2012 10:23:00 AM  
Anonymous The Wiz said...

Has Henry George's plan ever had the intended affect where is was implemented? How successful is doing so?

Thursday, March 22, 2012 10:20:00 PM  

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