Park County residents can expect noticeably higher property taxes this year.
That’s the synopsis Pat Meyer, county assessor, said after his department made some of its final 2021 estimates for valuations on all of its nearly 25,000 taxable accounts.
There were 7% more homes sold in the county in 2020, and homes sold for about 8.5-12.5% more in Park County on average in 2020, which could lead to an increase up to 20-30% in individual property values.
The average sales price of in-town Cody properties rose 9.5% while rural Cody properties only rose 1.4%.
He said the biggest reason for the jump is not only an increase in home sales, but also a trend of people buying homes for more than they are valued for, a practice sources have told him is being particularly perpetuated by people moving here from outside the region, mostly from places where home prices are substantially higher.
Meyer said his staff has repeatedly heard tales of bidding wars, buyers paying more than asking prices and properties only lasting on the market for a minimal amount of time before being snatched up – sometimes sight-unseen – and purchased with enough cash to cover the full asking price.
“Sometimes it takes a matter of hours for a property to be listed, available and shown before a high offer is settled upon,” Meyer wrote in a release. “There is no question and it is my strong opinion 2020 was a seller’s market.”
Also adding to the rise of home prices has been the skyrocketing price of building materials.
When a home is purchased for higher than its true value, Meyer said it will stay at that elevated level permanently, barring an event like a natural disaster or a historic economic crash.
Meyer said it is with a conservative reflection of the market his staff makes their valuations.
“It’s a conservative county, people like their taxes low,” he said.
If a house appraises for $300,000, it is taxed at .095%, which gives the property an assessed value of $28,500. The assessed value is then multiplied by the local mill levy, which would typically average out to a tax bill of $1,995.
The assessor’s office is required by state law to follow the market and adjust property values to meet the standards set forth by the Wyoming Department of Revenue and State Board of Equalization. These standards involve a coefficient formula requiring assessors to appraise a property within 15% of its median appraisal value for an array of sale properties in one neighborhood. Meyer said his department is usually within 10% on this range.
“We really like to stay below (100%) for taxes,” he said. “We’re not pushing the market, we’re just following it.”