Nassau County freezes assessments after home-price surge

Second straight year owners will benefit from artificially low valuations

Tri-State /
Jan.January 24, 2022 01:15 PM

From left: Bruce Blakeman, Nassau County Executive, and Laura Curran, former Nassau County Executive (Getty Images, iStock/Photo Illustration by Steven Dilakian for The Real Deal)

Just call Laura Curran the Ice Queen.

Before leaving her post as Nassau County executive, Curran — for a second straight year — froze the values on which homes are taxed, according to Newsday.

Curran froze property values for the 2023-24 tax year before being replaced by Bruce Blakeman, a Republican elected in November. The values were revealed in the tentative assessment roll published by the county.

In December 2020, Curran also froze assessments, that time for the 2022-23 tax year. At the time, she cited the quick moving housing market as a rationale, but didn’t publicly talk about her decision for the 2023-24 tax year.

Homeowners across the county benefit in the short term from the decision, particularly those whose market values have increased — which is just about all of them. With the assessed values kept where they were, they will pay less property tax than they would otherwise have.

The county may ultimately lose, however, if assessed values fall far out of whack with true values. Many homeowners successfully appeal their assessments when they eventually rise or when market values fall.

Curran reassessed properties for the 2020-21 tax year, according to Newsday, after an eight-year freeze during the previous decade. An audit showed that home prices during that freeze rose 34 percent while assessments remained the same.

One real estate appraiser, Paul Dyckes, told Newsday that the latest freeze could throw off assessments by as much as 25 percent.

Housing prices have soared in Nassau County during the pandemic, though they might be hitting a plateau. For November, OneKey MLS reported the median sales price was $655,000, a 9.3 percent increase year-over-year, but only an 0.8 percent increase from October. It also broke a five-month streak of annual double-digit price increases, suggesting a slowing in price growth.

But it’s possible property values will never come down following the hot housing market that has prevailed across the nation.

“I think the other side of this boom is not a correction — it’s plateauing,” Jonathan Miller, chief executive of property appraisal firm Miller Samuel, told Newsday.

According to the paper, homeowners with household incomes of $250,000 or less could also benefit from tax rebates if Gov. Kathy Hochul’s budget proposal for fiscal 2023 is approved; it includes a $2.2 billion property tax credit.

[Newsday] — Holden Walter-Warner





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