DETROIT – Officials with the city of Detroit announced Thursday that property values increased an average of 8% for the city.
Mayor Mike Duggan said he’s very happy that the city’s Assessor Department went from one of the country’s worst to something that puts Detroit on par with other big cities.
Still, there are those who think the assessing process is weighted against the city’s poorest, and Duggan is challenging those claims.
“Property values in the city went up 8% last year,” Duggan said. “Sales prices of homes went up 8%, so the average assessment is going to go up 8%, but your taxes only go up 2%.”
State laws cap property tax increases at inflation, which is 2% currently.
Duggan presented a map of Detroit where green areas meant increased values and red meant decreased. It was almost entirely green, a large improvement over six years ago when the map was all red.
“This is what a healthy growing city should look like,” Duggan said.
The city said the average residential home value in Detroit is $14,000, but a study from the University of Chicago Center for Municipal Finance believes the city’s assessment process is weighted against homes under $28,000. Duggan said the study refuses to disclose the data that suggests this opinion.
“Most low priced homes are still being assessed well in excess of their actual value,” said Chris Berry. “If you over assessed people at the bottom and under assessed people at the top -- which is exactly what they are doing -- you can be right on average despite being wildly wrong for different groups of people in different directions.”
Detroit Assessor Alvin Horhn disagrees with that finding.
“Valuation, a very smart person once told me, is not an art, not science,” Horhn said. “You have the facts but you also have to understand the market. Detroit is a unique market and you can’t get those nuances simply from a sales study.”
The official data from the city of Detroit can be found here.