Delaware County Reassessment – The First in Twenty Years
After 20 years, Delaware County’s property assessments are being updated. Over 200,000 properties in the county will be assigned new assessments. Assessments, which are the estimated property values that the counties, school districts and municipalities use to calculate tax bills, will be updated to capture current market value, or the amount for which someone could sell a property. The new appraisals likely will have a dramatic impact on many tax bills. The process is aimed at equalizing tax burdens, making residents’ bills fairer. Reassessments are politically unpopular, as they create winners and losers. Over time, assessments tend to become more inaccurate as measures of value. Assessments are fixed in time, but property values are not, and rates of appreciation vary radically from one community to another.
A New Approach
This Delaware County reassessment is using new technology and a new approach. The county is using street-level and aerial photography to document houses within its borders. Property owners may receive a site visit from the field crew and will receive a questionnaire in the mail about their property. The mailer will include instructions to describe parts of the property, such as the number of bathrooms and bedrooms. It won’t be until 2020 when property owners will receive the new value of the change — and when the processes to appeal those valuations will begin.
Winners and Losers
The overall amount of tax collected will remain the same, so there is no chance for all of the county’s residents to receive a tax hike. Assessments are based on property values. These can vary wildly from house to house, but as a general snapshot there are some townships that are undervalued as a whole. Looking at current market values compared to assessed values, here’s what we expect to happen:
Little to No Change:
- Edgmont, Newtown, Aston, Upper Chichester, Parkside, Ridley/Ridley Park, Morton, and Norwood are currently assessed at or slightly above their fair market value. If any townships remain mostly the same, it will be these.
Likely to Increase:
- Marple, Springfield, Swarthmore, Rose Valley, Middletown, Chester Heights, Thornbury, Concord, Bethel, and Chadds Ford are currently assessed slightly lower than their current market value. We expect many homes in these townships to increase slightly.
- Many homes in Radnor, Haverford, Upper Providence, and Media are currently assessed much lower than their fair market value. If there are any drastic reassessments, they may occur in these townships.
Likely to Decrease:
- Darby Borough, Upland, and Marcus Hook townships are those most likely to decrease their taxes after the Delaware County reassessment.
- Upper Darby, Lansdowne, Yeadon, Sharon Hill, Glenolden, Norwood, Tinicum, Eddystone, Chester, and Trainer are likely to decrease their assessments moderately after the Delaware County reassessment.
Poor resale and market values in particular areas will mean lower assessments and subsequently lower tax bills. This leaves other townships to manage the burden.
Data collection has been ongoing in Upper Darby, Aldan, Clifton Heights, East Lansdowne, Lansdowne, Millbourne, Collingdale and Darby Township. This month, it is beginning in Yeadon, Colwyn, Sharon Hill, Folcroft, Glenolden, Norwood, Prospect Park, Tinicum, Eddystone, Ridley Park, Ridley Township, Rutledge, Morton, Swarthmore and Springfield. There is a website with more information on the Delaware County Reassessment.
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Source: Philadelphia Inquirer; 9/4/2018
Source: Daily Times; 9/16/2018