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RE-EVALUATION OF PROPERTIES IN WESTON, CONNECTICUT:

 
Unofficial map of non-conforming lots in Weston, CT.  
NOT IN WESTON:  Interesting issue in Montville and some questions - why was property, already sold, assessed for what it used to be, rather than what it sold for
?

C O N T E N T S   O F    T H I S    P A G E



Weston’s 2013 grand list shrinks by 12.43%
Weston FORUM
By Kimberly Donnelly on January 29, 2014

The town’s net grand list has shrunk by $330.6 million, a 12.43% decrease, compared with a 0.18% increase in growth last year and 0.73% the year before.

“The decrease was due to the recent revaluation of real property, which makes up about 95% of the grand list,” said Ken Whitman, Weston’s assessor. “Despite the recent uptick in the market in the past year, real estate values are down from the 2008 market, the last time a townwide revaluation was performed.”

Revaluation of real estate assessments must take place every five years.

First Selectman Gayle Weinstein said that while revaluation can make the grand list decrease seem shocking, “we thought there was going to be a much worse drop in values than we saw.”

Ms. Weinstein said neighboring towns of Wilton and Redding went through revaluation last year and saw decreases to their grand lists that were in the 17% range.

“We were actually pleasantly surprised,” she said...

Please search the Weston FORUM archives for the remainder of this story.



 
Reval notices sent to Weston homeowners

FORUM
By Kenneth Whitman, Weston Tax Assessor on December 19, 2013

The 2013 revaluation of Weston real estate is entering its penultimate phase.

The field review stage is complete, as well as the analysis of market sales and the establishment of preliminary values. Notices will be mailed shortly to each property owner showing the previous assessment, based on the 2008 real estate market, and the proposed Oct. 1, 2013, assessment. The 70% assessment is the value upon which taxes are based.

Taxpayers should bear in mind that these values reflect the change in the real estate market from October 2008 to October 2013, a period in the market that showed significant fluctuations, first downward, then stabilizing with a mild rebound in the past year. Over the five-year period between revaluations, the overall effect on values is generally negative.

It is also important to note that state law requires the assessor to value as of Oct. 1. Sales after October are not allowed to be used in the rigid performance-based testing required for the state to certify the accuracy of the revaluation...

Please search the Weston FORUM archives for the remainder of this story.



Property revaluation begins in Weston

By The Forum Staff on April 21, 2013

Weston is in the process of conducting its state-mandated revaluation of all real estate in the municipality for the Oct. 1 2013 grand list.

Assessor Ken Whitman made this announcement in an email message he sent this week to the Forum.

“The effect of the revaluation will be reflected in the taxes payable July 2014/January 2015. Assessed values will reflect the real estate market as of Oct. 1, 2013.”

State law requires that revaluations be conducted at least every five years. The last revaluation in Weston was done for the 2008 grand list...

Please search the Weston FORUM archives for the remainder of this story.



Oxford sees a gain in Grand List
CT POST
Posted on January 30, 2014 | By Michael P. Mayko

OXFORD-The town registered a 1.7 percent increase in its 2013 Grand List over the previous year.

The new Grand List numbers are $1,426,266,555 in 2013 compared to $1,408,352,670 in 2012.  Grand List totals determine whether taxes go up or down.  The town saw across the board increases, according to Eva Lintzner, the assessor.

The biggest jump was in personal property which saw a 5.11% increase or nearly $4.3 million from $83,652,640 in 2012 to $87,923,140 last year.

Motor Vehicle property increased 3.28% from $107,885,200 to $111,423,260 while real estate was up .83% from $1,216,814,830 to $1,226,920,155.




Revaluation renders residents speechless
HOUR
By Frank MacEachern
Posted: 01/12/2009 02:44:42 AM EST


NORWALK - Though several meetings are scheduled this month to discuss property revaluation, so far residents aren't saying much about it, two neighborhood association presidents said.  Maybe it's because residents still are digesting the recent tax bills they received, or maybe they are taking their concerns straight to the city, the neighborhood leaders said.

"Most people just got their tax bill, and that's from last year. It's not the revaluation tax bill yet," said Leigh Grant, president of the Norwalk Association of Silvermine Homeowners.

Laurel Lindstrom, president of the East Norwalk Neighborhood Association, said it could be that residents, concerned about the value assessed to their homes, have taken matters into their hands.

"With the deadlines they need to appeal, they are more likely to have gone to the city about this," Lindstrom said...

Please search the Norwalk HOUR archives for the remainder of this story.


So what does the reval company do here in Weston?  We guess there will be no increase on the value of residential property...from October 1, 2003, but the shift in tax burden will go to the shrinking middle-value properties--sort of like the rest of the U.S. economy!  See our previous study below ...
State's Housing Prices Plunge In May

By KENNETH R. GOSSELIN | Courant Staff Writer
10:54 AM EDT, July 1, 2008

The decline in the median sales price of single family houses in Connecticut gathered increased momentum in May, plunging by nearly 11 percent percent, the biggest drop since 1992 when the state was digging out of a deep recession...

Many economists say the housing downturn nationally -- and in Connecticut -- isn't likely to bottom out until well into 2009.

The state's median sales price, where half the sales are above and half below, was down 10.8 percent, to $272,000, from $305,000 a year ago. Hartford County fared better than the state as a whole, with median prices slipping 4 percent, to $234,900, from $244,900 a year ago. Sales in Hartford County plunged nearly 23 percent.

"Clearly, this downturn is showing no signs of relenting, and without a pickup in sales, it could be more severe than the last one," said Timothy J. Warren Jr., chief executive of Warren...

Fairfield County saw the median sales price fall 13 percent in May, to $545,000, from $627,500 a year ago. Sales plummeted 35 percent.

Only one county, Tolland, showed a gain in May, rising 6 percent, to $267,500, from $252,250 a year ago, even as sales fell 21 percent...
Please search the Hartford  Courant archives for the remainder of this story.



Some Property Appraisals Seemingly Askew In Montville; Developer's willingness to pay dearly doesn't benefit town's tax base 
DAY
By Paul Choiniere
Published on 2/20/2007

Montville — On July 26 a modest 654-square-foot home at 46 Massapeag Side Road sold for a whopping $1 million. The homeowners were among the latest in that neighborhood to benefit from a developer's willingness to pay high prices for land near the Mohegan Sun casino.

But when the town completed a property revaluation in October, the value of the million-dollar home was appraised at $172,740. That gives it a tax assessment of $120,920. Assessments represent 70 percent of appraised values.

The company that acquired it, Mohegan Hill Development, LLC, will pay property taxes based on that assessment, not the $1 million purchase price.

Behind the purchases is the Tarragon Corp., which operates as Mohegan Hill in southeastern Connecticut. A publicly traded company, Tarragon specializes in luxury resort communities in urban settings.

The Day examined real estate records for 33 properties Mohegan Hill Development has purchased over the last few years, and found in each instance the newly appraised values were significantly below the sale prices...Please search the New London DAY archives for the remainder of this story.

C O M M E N T S 
 
Posted - 2/20/2007 8:35:55 AM
I am petrified to receive my new tax bill in June. Without seeing anyone and without any changes in my property, my assessment DOUBLED (less nine dollars).I always thought my taxes were too high to begin with and now this. My wife and I are driving 11 and 15 year old vehicles to keep our taxes down. Having just retired,I don't think I'll be able to afford to pay Montville's mistakes.
Roger Rondeau
Oakdale, CT 
- 2/20/2007 9:58:22 AM 
 
Posted - 2/20/2007 8:11:16 AM
The whole idea of market value is the amount of money a willing buyer and seller are both willing to enter into a transaction to complete. The motivation is not material. The stock market, the greatest market for establishing free market value, has many stocks which many would consider "over value." IF A DEVELOPER PURCHASES A PROPERTY THEY SHOULD PAY TAXES ON THE PRICE PAID, THE MARKET VALUE. If they do not want to pay the taxes negotiate the price, take an option on the property and once they have assembled the property(s) needed they can buy them all at once and move forward.   



In Greenwich (they had reval in 2001)...
Grand List hits record
By Neil Vigdor Greenwich TIME Staff Writer
February 3, 2004
The Grand List -- Boasting the largest tax base of any community in the state, Greenwich reported the Grand List reached an all-time high of $20.1 billion last year.  The figure eclipsed the previous high of just more than $20 billion in 2001, when a townwide revaluation nearly doubled property tax assessments.

(Weston's new, estimated Grand List is $2.27 billion - and increase of 27.5% since 1999.)

The Grand List is the sum of all taxable property -- includes residential, commercial and industrial properties, land owned by utilities, vacant land, personal property and automobiles. Last year's Grand List dropped below $20 billion because of appraisal adjustments stemming from the Board of Assessment Appeals and court settlements.

The community's tax base is significantly higher than second-place Stamford, according to Greenwich Assessor John "Ted" Gwartney.  "I think we always have been and always will be," said Gwartney, who signed the Grand List last week. Stamford's Grand List stands at about $15.8 billion.      The assessed value of residential property -- which is 70 percent of its appraised value -- in Greenwich increased marginally from about $16.2 billion in 2002 to about $16.4 billion in 2003, according to Gwartney.

The assessed value of the town's 959 commercial properties rose half a percent, from $1.96 billion in 2002 to $1.97 billion in 2003...


W E S T O N   R E V A L   2 0 0 9  :  



We got ours...over all, up @5%.
Weston revaluation notices are being sent this week  
     
Weston FORUM
Written by Kenneth Whitman, Weston Assessor    
Wednesday, December 31, 2008 

The 2008 revaluation of Weston real estate is coming to fruition.

The physical inspection and field review stages are complete, as well as the analysis of market sales and the establishment of preliminary values.

Notices will be mailed shortly to each property owner showing the current value, based on the 2003 real estate market, and the proposed Oct. 1, 2008 value. The 70% assessment upon which taxes are based is also included.

Taxpayers should bear in mind these values reflect the change in the real estate market from October 2003 to October 2008, a period in the market that showed significant early appreciation before the more recent downturn since 2006-07. Therefore, over the five-year period between revaluations, the overall effect on values is minimal. 

It is also important to note that Connecticut state law requires the assessor to value as of Oct. 1. Sales after October are not allowed to be used in the rigid performance-based testing required for the state to certify the accuracy of the revaluation.

Because the real estate market has continued to decline since Oct. 1, these changes cannot be reflected in the 2008 revaluation figures.

Another important fact — and misconception — about revaluations is that they do not raise revenue for the town. Assessments of all taxable property are simply used as a base for establishing how much each taxpayer will pay in taxes. However, the total amount of the tax levy (total dollars raised through taxation) is based on the budget process, i.e., how much the town needs to fund the schools, public safety, public works, health and sanitation, social services, library, parks and recreation, and general government.

If the propery values increase, the tax rate will decrease, and if the values decrease, the tax rate will increase based on the revaluation alone.

Finally, let me stress that the values being mailed this week are preliminary values. The assessor encourages each taxpayer to review the value and the information contained in the property record for each of their properties.

Consider this phase of the revaluation to be the “public participation” phase. Information on all real property in the town of Weston will be available for perusal by all Weston taxpayers to compare and analyze.

Information on the Web site (www.westonct.gov) and how to request an informal meeting to discuss your property will be contained on the valuation notice that you will receive.

After reviewing the public feedback, the assessor will carefully re-analyze the values and methodology of the revaluation company and issue final valuation and assessment notices, probably toward the end of February.


Revaluation inspection moves to final section of Weston       
Weston FORUM
Saturday, August 09, 2008 

The Weston property revaluation team will be inspecting the final section of town in its initial data collection phase.

The southwest section of town by the Wilton and Westport borders will be visited by the Vision Appraisal team of Marcus Irrek, Lee Galban and Jason Dzilinski. When this section is completed, the team will concentrate on “callbacks” to those properties where they were unable to gain access.

The inspectors have Town of Weston photo ID badges, and their names and vehicle information are registered with the Weston Police Department.

Homeowners are asked to instruct on-site employees to ask for proper identification when allowing them access to the property.

Notification letters were mailed this week to residents in these neighborhoods. If the owner is not available after three “cold calls,” a second notice will be mailed later in the summer to allow for an appointment at a more convenient time. Residents will not receive a telephone call prior to this phase of the inspection process.

The inspector will ask to measure and record information on the exterior of the property as well as inspect the interior and record information, such as number of rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms, and plumbing fixtures, type of heating, and air conditioning, flooring, ceiling height, as well as non-living areas such as porches, garages, utility rooms, and basement and attic space. They will not consider interior decorations, furnishings, personal property, and amenities typically not included in the sale of real estate.

Ken Whitman, the town assessor, will continue to personally inspect homes throughout town that have recently sold.

These inspections are being requested to give the homeowner an opportunity to convey any unconventional conditions of the sale or issues that may not be reflected in the sale price, as well as to control the quality of the work of the revaluation personnel. Since the ultimate goal of appraising all properties in Weston is to produce accurate and equitable values, it is extremely important that the assessor view all sold properties, he said. These properties will be the “comparable sales” that are used to value all unsold properties.

The assessor will also continue to perform exterior field inspections of all recent sales since July 1, 2008. Expect to see the town’s white Toyota Prius, license plate number 3 WE, driving into driveways in a neighborhood near you.

Mr. Whitman said he extends his appreciation to the taxpayers of Weston for their assistance in completing this important five-year project.


What are the prospects for any increase at all in the Grand List for Reval 2008?
Weston begins its revaluation
Weston FORUM
by KEN WHITMAN, Weston Assessor
Nov 28, 2007

Weston is in the process of conducting its state-mandated revaluation of all real estate in the municipality for the October 2008 grand list.   The effect of the revaluation will be reflected in the taxes payable July 2009 through January 2010.

Recent state legislation requires that revaluations now be performed at least every five years, changed from the previous four-year schedule. The last revaluation in Weston was implemented for the 2003 grand list. 
The new law also requires that all real property be physically inspected every 10 years. Weston is due for a full physical inspection for the 2008 revaluation.

To accomplish the task of collecting data and inspecting all real estate parcels, the town has contracted the firm of Vision Appraisal Technology of Northboro, Mass. Vision’s property appraisers will be visiting residents beginning the first week of December.  The appraisers will have identification badges issued by the town and will be registered with the Weston Police Department.

The initial visits will be announced via notification letters mailed this week, and through The Weston Forum as the inspections progress. The first neighborhoods to be inspected will be the Georgetown Road area, beginning at the Redding/Wilton borders.

If property owners are not available, a notice will be left on the premises to allow for a later appointment at a more convenient time.  Several properties, including recent sales, will be inspected a second time by the assessor for quality control purposes.  Recent sale properties will also be mailed a sales questionnaire to verify the circumstances of the transaction and determine the veracity of the sale.

The assessor is the town’s real estate appraiser and the revaluation is the assessor’s opportunity to garner any and all data relevant to the appraisal process. The better the data, the better able the assessor is to accurately value property.  The revaluation is expected to be completed in the fall of 2008, with preliminary valuation notices mailed to all real estate taxpayers in November 2008.

For more information, call Ken Whitman at 203-222-2606.




Map of non-conforming lots in Weston.

For your reference:
"Reval 2004" in Weston:  which properties increased in value the most?
First of all, Weston's Grand List increased overall by 27.5%...

At the top of this page and just above, is a map of the non-conforming lots in the Town of Weston (i.e. those of size less than two acres each).  From early analysis, "About Town" thought that these properties would be the big losers this time.  This turns out not necessarily to be the case.

It appears that any vacant land increased at the fastest rate.  Next after vacant sites, came any property in the vicinity of either a 1)new home  or  2)a knock-down/new home replacement  or  3)a major addition to an older home.  After all, no one actually did a full inspection of any properties--it was a matter of "drive-by assessment" plus updating records of building permits!  IN 2008 THERE WILL BE FULL INSPECTIONS OF ALL PROPERTIES.

INCOME
Thinking about property wealth as relative might be a reasonable thing to do as we review Town of Weston reassessment.  As the latest Walter Erikson-Theresa Brasco report notes on page 1, Weston's income distribution from the U.S. Census 2000 for "families" (NOTE:  "Family" income is higher than "Household" income) shows 34.3% the families with income under $100,000 annually.

Conveniently, the Weston Town Plan of Conservation and Development was updated @ year 2000, and included the 1999 reval data and tables prepared with the assistance of the Assessor.  Table 10 of that document is entitled "Profile of Weston Housing (3537 houses on 7418 acres)."

Although one cannot make a firm statement correlating one set of data to another unrelated source, one might reasonably assume that "lower income" Westonites reside in less expensive properties.  Where do these "lower income" Westonites live?  In homes valued in 1999 assessments as "under $500,000" - which accounted for approximately 37% of all Weston homes at that time!

Below please note that the Oct. 1. 2003 Revaluation records all entries on the Grand List as 3786 properties (we assume this number correlates to definitions in the 1999 reassessment).
 

"EITHER END" 2003
At the high end, about 50 properties are assessed at more than $2 million (for the 70% assessment).  When added to those properties assessed at $1 million (an additional 320 plus, at 70% assessment), this represents roughly 10% of the total number of properties on the Grand List.

We started our analysis at the low end, however.  After reviewing the 172 properties listed at between $100k and $299k (at 70% assessment) we came to an interesting initial conclusion:

The "bottom of the market," the least expensive parcels, increased in value between 1999 and 2003 at a rate of 53.1% - vacant land leading the way at 55.5%.  There are 71 properties (.018% of the total of 3786 in Weston) in this price range with houses on them.  How did the rest of the market fare?  According to the January 16, 2004 Weston FORUM, citing the Assessor, "generally, properties have increased between 25% and 45%."


"About Town" checked...and checked...and checked (our methodology considered valid by Town Assessor in brief discussion):
The samples so far ... we are being consistent with the established methodology (100% of entries from 0-07 at each $100,000 of valuation, i.e. $600,000 to $607,000 of 70% valuation).

What was the range of increase for a home valued between $600k and $607k (70% of full value)?  There were 28 homes in this category, and they ranged between increases of 24% and 47% from 1999 to 2003.

We used the same methodology for the group $500k-507k, at 70%, and there were 71 homes in this category. In this category the range fluctuated between 263% to 12% for "change" in the 1999 to 2003 assessment periods.  One home at 63% and one at 73% increase were the next two greatest changes, at the other end (lower increase) there were similar examples falling outside the "normal range."

At this time, the $700k-$707k group (at 70% of full value) has been analyzed similarly.  There were 21 homes in this category, and the range in this sample was 24%-64%.

TO BE CONTINUED...



SOURCES:  http://gis.vgsi.com/WestonCT/Search.aspx
  1. For new assessments, the Town of Weston website;
  2. for 1999 assessments, Gold Imaging, Inc. database.
  3. Map above produced by "About Town" previously.
  4. Analysis by "About Town" of 1999 and 2003 assessment information is original work, but is available to those who visit us on the Internet.