Jan 26, 2024 - News

Here are the takeaways from Wake County's soaring tax evaluations

Increase in real property evaluations for select Wake County municipalities
Data: Wake County Tax Administration; Map: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

Wake County property owners have been getting their new tax appraisals in the mail this past week, and the numbers show an area absolutely soaring in value coming out of the pandemic.

Here are some takeaways from Wake County's 2024 tax evaluation:

Largest ever increase

Property values increased by 50.6% across Wake County between 2020 and 2024 — the four-year re-evaluation cycle done by the county tax assessors.

That is the largest ever increase in the county's history, Marcus Kinrade, the county's head tax administrator, told Axios.

  • Kinrade noted that prior to 2016, the county re-appraised land values every eight years. Even over a longer period of time, the county hadn't seen increases as large as the past four years.

Why it matters: It's more evidence that the surge in real estate values during the pandemic — and the number of people moving to the area — was historic in nature.

The suburbs are booming

The largest increases in values came in Wake County's booming suburbs — especially in the southern and eastern parts of the county.

  • Wendell saw its land values rise nearly 65%, Holly Springs 58% and Garner 56%.

What happened: Simply put, the areas with the fastest-growing land values are where the most new homes are being built.

What they're saying: Another driver of that suburban growth, Kinrade says, is land is cheaper there.

  • And "It's available to subdivide and build on," he said. "And then once it's built, you've got a new home there that holds up value wise better compared to the older stock."

Office values lagged

With a just 20% increase, office buildings saw some of the lowest growth in the appraisal.

  • That's no surprise, given remote work and record high office vacancy rates — which Kinrade said the county accounted for when determining office values.

Industrial and mini storage see huge gains

Two types of land uses that saw some of the highest gains in value were industrial and mini storage properties.

What's next

Wake County and its municipalities will set new property tax rates later this year, but that doesn't necessarily mean homeowners with higher valuations will owe more in taxes.

Details: The county could leave its property tax rate at a "revenue neutral" level, meaning at a rate that generates the same amount of money as the current tax rate.

  • Wake County's property tax rate for 2024 is .657 cents per $100 of property value, according to the country.
  • The revenue neutral rate at the new appraisals would be .4643 cents per $100 of value.

If the tax rate is left revenue neutral, properties that have seen their values go up higher than the Wake County average will likely see their property taxes go up.

  • While properties whose values saw a lower increase than the county average could see property taxes go down.

Not seeing many appeals yet

Kinrade said his office was prepared for an onslaught of appeals from residents that received their appraisals in the mail last weekend.

  • However, he said, it hasn't been that busy so far.
  • "I'm really surprised that we are not receiving more calls than we have been," he said. "Yesterday we had less than 350 calls, which, you know, sounds like a lot of calls but is really not."

He noted that there's never been more data available to homeowners than today, given the proliferation of data sources like Zillow or Redfin.

  • People might have been more prepared for a large increase based on what they've seen on paper in recent years.
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