The majority of Will County homeowners will see a decrease in the assessed value of their property for 2012, with an overall average reduction of about 6.44 percent throughout the area, according to Chief County Assessment Officer Rhonda Novak.
In a press release, she said this is the third year the county has seen a decline, due in large part to the lingering effects of the recent housing market crash and struggling economy.
“The reduction is a direct reflection of the drop in property values that Will County, and much of our nation, has been experiencing for several years,” she stated in the release.
Despite the persistent decline, faired a bit better. The average reduction of assessed value was 5.5 percent, said
Hernandez' comments reflect a positive trend when compared with other communities in the Chicago region. Last week Crain's Business News announced that the Village of New Lenox was named among the top 10 municipalities with the least amount of foreclosures in collar counties.
New Lenox was tied with Naperville and Highland Park in achieving a foreclosure rate of 2.5 percent per every 1,000 mortgageable properties. The communities with the most foreclosures, such as Dolton and Bellwood, struggle with rates exceeding 20 percent.
What the drop in assessed value means today in terms of real dollars:
Novak said, "Even though your property might be worth less in 2012 than it was in the year or years before, and even though you might see a decreased assessment to reflect that, it's still possible your taxes will stay the same or even increase."
Hernandez explained that despite the drop in value, the cost of services doesn't go down. Add to the fact that the budgets of local taxing bodies—schools, library, fire district, park district and the like do not always go down.
Realistically speaking, she said, "Your taxes could even go up." The Will County treasurer is charged with recalculating the tax rate higher to satisfy the levy requests of the taxing bodies within the township's boundaries, Hernandez said.
The good news is that property sales are on the up-tick:
In regard to the number of total transaction sales, they're increasing, said Novak. The value of homes has declined in the last few years, but the recent boost in transactions is a good sign. The prices haven't yet risen, but she expects that to improve as well.
"I think we've seen the worst of it," said Novak.
Hernandez said New Lenox Township property tax assessments will go into the mail tomorrow.
The past few years were tough. "It used to be that we'd have two or three 2-inch (thick) binders of transactions in a year. Now we've got one, and it's mostly foreclosures and depressed properties."
People aren't selling, she said, unless they have to. The economy has to pick up before homes begin selling as they had in the past. People aren't looking to sell simply to move to another neighborhood now, she added.
For questions regarding specific tax bills, call the New Lenox Township Assessor's Office at: (815) 485-6431 or check the website.