Many property values go down in Waukesha

Recent revaluation has varied effect for homeowners

April 30, 2013

Waukesha residents may have had some unwelcome news regarding their property value in the mail recently.

In the city, there was a 3.3-percent decrease in average property values in the City of Waukesha, City Assessor Paul Klauck said. In fact, Klauck said there were some neighborhoods with decreases as high as 7 percent while others were only within a 1-percent decrease.

The city recently underwent a revaluation to bring all properties up to the market value. Klauck added the most recent reassessments have taken place every two years since 2009. Before that, they were done every four years, Klauck said.

The value decrease for 2011 was about 6 percent, while other property values increased between 5 and 8 percent, Klauck said.

This has happened because real estate values for different types of properties and in different areas of the city change at different rates, Klauck explained.

"The age or the size of a property may affect the rate of value change. Higher-priced properties may change in value more or less than lower-priced properties.

"If someone took out a building permit for new construction, addition, remodeling, their value probably increased," he said.

Klauck said a revaluation appraises all property based on its full and fair value, which means current real estate market prices, or what that piece of property, in that condition, in that neighborhood, would sell for.

As a result, each property's taxes are based on that current market value.

The purpose of a revaluation is to ensure a fair and equitable redistribution of the city's tax levy so all property owners are shouldering their fair share of the city's tax burden.

However, since market conditions change, and property assessments may change over time, the relationship between assessments and market values becomes more skewed, and they must be brought into line with each other.

"It's mainly done for uniformity," said Klauck, adding cities undertake property revaluations to update housing valuations for the purpose of attaining uniformity in assessments. "Rather than just changing a few of them, we change them all to make them uniform."

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