Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Assessment appeals are soaring...

Well, here's one booming business for you - a property tax attorney specializing in tax appeals. As I've said before, NJ is not a perfect comp for Upstate NY, but I think their real estate tax issues offer some insights into future issues for NNY.

"The burden is on homeowners to use data to show their home value, as of October 2008, is too high based on other sales. That could be hard in a year when sales were few and far between, providing little evidence for homeowners to make their case.

“We’re anticipating a substantial number of tax appeals,” said Louis Izenberg, an appraiser who represents towns and large property owners. “Having said that, at the end of the day, the New Jersey Tax Court relies upon evidence, and for the first time I can recall, we really don’t have an abundance of data.”

"Some of the strongest candidates for reductions are homeowners whose towns last did property assessment updates around the height of the housing boom, and owners of high-end properties, experts say."

Since many local towns (Clayton and Alexandria Bay come to mind) reassessed in 2006/2007 it seems like they might be in for some appeals. However, the biggest challenges will be finding comparable sales data. With so few sales occurring in the last 4 mths it is going to be difficult to find data to support an appeal.

“We have currently about 2,500 appeals pending, and we’re ready to file about 1,000, and I’m going to see another 1,000 after that,” said Livingston property tax attorney Lee Holtzman. “They’re coming out of the woodwork here. Everyone’s complaining.”

Wow, 4,500 appeals!! At an average bill rate of $150/hr these attorneys are going to be buying up distressed properties in the Hamptons next year.


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