Town of Manchester reassesses properties, finds decline

MANCHESTER - The town of Manchester has performed a partial reappraisal of its properties, notifying nearly 2,000 property owners of a change in their assessed value, according to Manchester Assessor Pauline Moore.

The last property assessment was done in 2011, but included only condominiums due to what Moore explained as a "consistent decline," and brought them to market value. Prior to that, the last full assessment was completed in 2008, at the height of the market values, and before they began to shift.

"Now ... the market has changed. It is more stable," said Moore of why the decision was made to reassess at this time. "We have seen adequate sales in various neighborhoods and property types."

She also pointed out that a $3 million sale of a property was recorded earlier this year.

Moore said that this reassessment yielded approximately an 8 percent decline in values on their grand list, which contains all properties in the town, not just ones that have received a reappraisal. The value is determined by a number of factors, including the location of the property with similar property types, the degree, if any, of refurbishment, and the quality of construction.

This decline will affect the municipal tax and it will translate to an approximate increase of one penny in the tax, but not the overall state tax. Will Hersom, broker at Vermont Country Properties, did not express concern that this value decline would affect property sales in the town.

"Each house is different," said Hersom. "It will not impact the sale value of the houses any more than the fact that our inventory is still rapidly growing and not shrinking. Until the number of houses is reduced, prices will continue to decline."

He also outlined what he sees as the reasons why this drop in values may be occurring.

Hersom said that real estate sales in Vermont as a whole are influenced by its relatively older demographic profile, plus a perception of high taxes. Both circum stances were in play around the Manchester area as well, he added.

It's still largely a buyer's market, he added.

Moore said that while there was a decline in property values, this does not mean that every property was assessed below its previous price. What she called unique properties, including ones with more land or a more recent refurbishment, tended to hold their value more so than others.

"We tried to make the assessments as equitable as we can," said Moore.

If any property owner has any questions concerning their appraisal, they are invited to visit the Finance Office from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday, in the Town Hall, or by calling 362-1313. All information provided in the office is public record.


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