North Carolina counties are required to perform a revaluation on property every four years to establish market values. Macon County Tax Administrator Abby Braswell presented to the Board of Commissioners during the August meeting to present the Schedule of Values for the property revaluation.
The property revaluation process involves collecting property sales data and reviewing the number of sales, analyzing construction costs, visiting properties, developing the Schedule of Values to use across the board, and finally sending out notices to property owners letting them know the updated value of their property and how much in taxes they’ll pay in the coming year.
According to Braswell, not only did Macon County experiences unprecedented growth in property sales, the values of properties in Macon County also skyrocketed during the COVID19 Pandemic.
“In July 2020 right after COVID hit, it was like somebody flipped a switch on,” Revaluation coordinator for the county Kevin Ford to commissioners. Ford said the COVID19 surge in home sales and values was unlike anything he had ever experienced in his career.
Braswell presented data from home sales over the last year and to date for 2022 which showed an increase of 1,471 taxable properties since 2019. In 2019 Macon County reported 42,542 taxable parcels in the county with a taxable value of $7,969,346,695. As of Aug. 1, 2022, Macon County now had 44,013 taxable parcels with a taxable value of $12,029,130,971. During the 2015 property revaluation, the total taxable value in Macon County was $8 billion. That number grew to just $8.1 billion by 2019.
The Town of Highlands has experienced the largest increase in taxable parcels, reporting a 57.07 percent change. In 2019, Highlands reported 2,90 taxable parcels with a value of $1,792,600,040. According to Braswell, the 2023 taxable parcel number is currently 3,020 with a value of $2,815,585,960. For comparison, the town of Franklin saw a smallest change at 36.36 percent. In 2019, Franklin reported 2,530 parcels with a value of $666,017,810 and by the 2023 report, the town had 2,739 taxable parcels with a value of 908,165,360.
In addition to the growth in the number of parcels, the value of qualified sales increased substantially over the last year. In 2021 Nantahala reported 112 qualified sales with the highest qualified sale being $1,250,000.. As of August 1, 2022, Nantahala has 49 qualified sales with the highest sale being $1,925,000, with four months left on the year, The highest home sale in Highlands in 2021 was $5,500,000, so far in 2022, Highlands has reported a sale totaling $8,000,000.
Commissioners approved setting a date for the proposed Schedule of Values presented by Braswell for the September 13 Board of Commissioners meeting. The Schedule of Values determines the base rates and ranges for different types of properties and offers appraisers guidelines when reviewing properties. It explains the methodology and procedure for appraising real property at its market values to establish equitable and uniform values for all property in Macon County. Macon County utilizes a computer-assisted mass appraisal software system to apply the Schedule of Values to each property in the county. During the public hearing, the public is invited to ask questions about the proposed Schedule of Values prior to commissioners approving it in October.
According to Ford, who works as a consultant for various counties conducting property revaluations, he has never had any comments from the public regarding the Schedule of Values, however, questions that would be anticipated would be related to what the Schedule of Values is and how the tax office applies the schedule for the property revaluation.