Mar 6, 2023 - Real Estate

Des Moines is getting a pain in the assessment

illustration of a bar graph with houses as the graph

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Home values will jump an average of 22% since 2021's reassessments in notices that will be mailed at the end of the month, Polk County Assessor's office deputy Paul Humble tells Axios.

Why it matters: It's the steepest hike of residential values in at least 40 years.

What's happening: Iowa property values are reappraised by county assessors in odd-numbers years.

  • Current market value — largely influenced by sales prices — is a key factor of an assessment.
  • The assessed values of Polk County homes increased by an average of just 8% in the 2021 reassessments.

State of play: Despite a slight dip in sales prices in January, year-over-year prices are up.

  • The median sale price of a single-family home in a six-county metro area including Polk was around $288,000 in December. That's up more than 9% in the last year, according to a report by the Iowa Association of Realtors.

Zoom in: The reassessments factor two years of gains in property value.

  • Most of the larger areas — including DSM, Ankeny, WDM, Urbandale and Johnston — saw gains between 20-24%.

Of note: The values of office space in DSM's core business district, which is primarily downtown, were unchanged, but the average commercial class assessment is up 19.5%.

Be smart: Larger assessments do not automatically mean tax bills will jump by the same percentages.

  • State policies intended to help limit taxpayer pain and rates set by local governments will be big factors for what is ultimately owed.
  • The new assessments will first be reflected on tax bills due in Sept. 2024.

✋ Object: Property owners can protest their assessments between April 2 and April 30.


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