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Business & Economy

Franklin County auditor says value increases are good as home reappraisals are released

House for sale

Franklin County property owners are studying their new real estate appraisals, and some have sticker shock.

The Franklin County auditor has released updated property values for the nearly 450,000 properties it reappraised this year.

On average the properties saw a 40% increase in appraised value. The Auditor’s Office said the big change is because of the “perfect storm” of a hot real estate market, continued population growth and not enough housing to keep pace.

Auditor Michael Stinziano said that in the places with the most competitive markets, the average increase in value was closer to 68%.

“Whitehall, for example, is going to see the largest increase,” Stinziano said. “But at the same time, the median sale within Whitehall is very competitive and lower than some of the communities that will see a smaller increase.”

He compared that to Grandview Heights, where properties have already been selling above $500,000, but owners are seeing a comparatively lower average increase of about 17%.

Parts of Columbus, the South-Western City School District – which includes Grove City – and Reynoldsburg saw average increases of about 50%, Stinziano said.

“Those increases are kind of catching up with what we're seeing, where people are being competitive and benefiting from being in communities that are attractive and for people to be buying and selling in,” he said.

“Never in the 30 years that I've been doing this have I seen anybody be able to buy a home and sell it in two or three years and make $100,000."
Don Shaffer, Realtor

Real Estate Market

Pickerington-based realtor Don Shaffer with Howard Hanna says that with what he’s seen in the last few years, he’s not that surprised that those areas are experiencing especially big value increases.

“I was doing business in 2008 when the market crashed and literally you couldn't give away a lot of those homes we've sold. I sold things at 35, 40, $50,000,” he said.

Now, he estimates the average value of a home in Whitehall at $240,000 and the cost of a house in Reynoldsburg at around $270,000.

“I think it comes down to affordability. Those areas have been historically more affordable to live in, to buy in, the market is starting to unfortunately affect those areas on from a value standpoint as well,” Shaffer said.

For people who are selling and moving out of the area, the money is sometimes life changing, Shaffer said.

“Never in the 30 years that I've been doing this have I seen anybody be able to buy a home and sell it in two or three years and make $100,000,” he said, calling that “unheard of.”

But for people who are moving within central Ohio – especially people looking to downsize – inflated interest rates and big monthly payments mean they aren’t necessarily saving the money they’d expect. Shaffer said that means he has to have a conversation with everyone looking to sell or buy to set expectations.

A good thing for owners

Reynoldsburg resident Amanda Hrncir says she thinks values going up is a good thing for the area, and good for homeowners who may want to sell their homes someday.

Using the Franklin County auditor’s “Know Your Home Value” website, Hrncir found that her home on Ardelle Drive had increased in value by more than 60% since she moved there six years ago.

When asked if she was surprised by the number, she said, “yes and no.”

“I mean yes, to think that it's gone up like $100,000 in six years. But I'm not super surprised because I know the market's so crazy,” Hrncir said.

She said the lower costs of housing and lower property taxes were what brought her to Reynoldsburg in the first place.

“We recognize and understand when you hear some of those numbers, they can be very eye popping. But remind folks, that's not that dollar for dollar match when it comes to property taxes."
Franklin County Auditor Michael Stinziano

Reevaluating values

Still, not everyone is happy when they see their property values jump. Auditor Stinziano noted that on the first day that values were posted online, about 70 people called to schedule in-person or virtual meetings to review their values.

At those meetings in September, property owners can bring photos or other evidence to show why they think their value is wrong.

Stinziano said people who are unhappy with their property values usually want them to be lowered, though occasionally they seek higher valuations because they’re planning to sell soon.

The big concern, of course, is taxes.

“We recognize and understand when you hear some of those numbers, they can be very eye popping. But we remind folks, that's not that dollar for dollar match when it comes to property taxes,” Stinziano said.

Property taxes are 35% of an auditor’s valuation plus stipulations from one’s taxing district, like levies, Stinziano said. Since levies are typically designed to collect a certain amount of money, increases and decreases have more to do with how one person’s property value changes compared to the rest of the properties in their community.

“And that's why it's so important for people to understand the value of the vote and what's on their ballot, and to participate in those elections,” he said.

The auditor’s website has a tax estimate calculator. In some cases, the estimator shows that a property’s taxes are going up very little, or maybe even going down.

A full appraisal like the one done this year is required by law every six years. Less comprehensive reappraisals are done every three years.

Stinziano said overall, value increases are a good thing.

“Purchasing a property may be the largest, likely the largest investment a family will ever make. And so, you want that value to continue to grow up,” he said.

Property owners can check their values online and should also receive notifications of their new appraised value in the mail in the coming weeks.

Allie Vugrincic is a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. She comes to Columbus from her hometown of Warren, Ohio, where she was a reporter, features writer and photographer for four years at the Tribune Chronicle and The Vindicator newspapers.