Hamilton Co. (Cincinnati, OH) Revaluation

Lexur completed the six year revaluation of Hamilton County’s 348,000 parcels with the submission of the tentative abstract in March 2011. Company appraisers viewed each property in the field as part of a street level photography effort. Oblique aerial photography allowed the appraisers to view the individual properties from all sides.

With a photography crew of six vans, the Company completed the data verification effort in seven months. Values were determined and reviewed by Company appraisers and a tentative abstract was produced in March of 2011 and approved by the Department of Tax Equalization. Informal taxpayer reviews were scheduled in the summer of 2011 at 20 different locations and successfully completed in eight weeks with moderate (8,500) attendance.

What We Learned:

In both Hamilton and Franklin County the economic impact of the recession created a unique appraisal problem. For over 3 decades values continued to increase and property owners saw their investment grow. With the real estate values declining, property ownership entered an unfamiliar scenario. While all segments of the real estate market were affected, unban vs. suburban vs. rural properties did not feel the impact equally. In the low end market where predatory lending was prevalent, the market was saturated with distressed sales and financing was difficult to secure. Higher down payments or all cash transfers changed these areas into an investors market. Many residential properties that were previously owner occupied became rentals that now must be valued as an income producing property. In the high end market, a limited number of buyers produced lower values also. Areas offering good amenities such as schools, shopping, police and fire protection, parks and recreation had lesser declines.

Research of the sales is by far the most important part of the valuation process. Use of multiple listing services is extremely important and gives the appraiser the ability to not only verify the sale prices, but also allows the appraiser to verify certain interior data that is not readily available. With foreclosures, short sales, and cash transactions all affecting the market, it is imperative that the sales validation process be thorough. Most tables, models, and valuation tools are linked to the sales data so the accuracy of the data is very important.
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