Feb 18, 2021 - News

Des Moines is set to see massive swings in property values

Illustration of a takeout bag and a house on a seesaw, with the house on the higher side.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Hotels, bars and restaurants will lose 30% of their value in upcoming reassessments, Polk County assessor Randy Ripperger said in a meeting Wednesday with the Taxpayers Association of Central Iowa.

By the numbers: The value of homes, multi-residential properties and warehouses will go way up as compared to 2019 — 8%, 22% and 35%, respectively— according to the preliminary assessments.

Why it matters: Your property value is one of the main factors determining how much you owe in taxes.

  • Property taxes are also critical in determining local government budgets and funding for things like police and fire services.

Driving the news: The pandemic, low interest rates and historically low available housing inventory are all playing a part, Ripperger said. His other highlights:

  • The hospitality industry — which also includes theaters and health & recreational properties — was the only sector to drop in value. (He believes hotels won't fully recover until 2023 or 2024.)
  • Strong housing sales and strength in most business sectors means the value of all taxable real estate in the county will increase.

What they're saying: "I think, all-in-all, this is really good news for local governments," Ripperger said at the meeting. "Our tax bases are going to grow. I don't think they're going to take a huge hit like they did 10 years ago from the recession of 2008-2009."

What’s next: Notices of the new assessments will be mailed to property owners before April 1. You can protest. Details are here.

This story first appeared in the Axios Des Moines newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.


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