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Property values impact
every resident of Van Buren County...
According to an independent study of
public documents pertaining to property values reported by the
Van Buren County Assessor's Office to the
Assessment Coordination Department for the state of Arkansas,
one in four single-family residences sold in Van Buren County during
2005 was essentially over-assessed. That is, the appraised ‘fair market
value’ determined by the county assessment process was greater than what
the property actually sold for.
Of the 269 properties meeting the criteria for ‘single family
residences’ (ie: not large blocks of unimproved acreage, not farms, not
commercial properties, etc.), 80 were identified as ‘over assessed’
beyond typical plus-or-minus parameters in that the price the property
sold for was considerably less than the assessed valuation.
In dollars, these 80 properties sold for a total of $2,814,200 however
they were appraised at $4,339,150 – a difference of $1,524,950.
Extrapolated to taxes paid on this difference (based on a .03445 tax
rate at 20% of appraised value), this translates to $10,506.91 for an
average of $131.34 per each of the 80 tax payers. Within the study
group, appraisals on individual properties were over-valued by anywhere
from $1,450 to $86,200.
While there are many potential causes of this effect, including, for
example, a somewhat typical lag in every county’s efforts to comply with
state equalization procedures and/or the way state mandated assessment
criteria are applied to various properties by the actual assessors
and/or certain forced or hardship property sales, the bottom line is the
same: For at least 25% of those who sold a single-family residence in
Van Buren County in 2005, a substantial disparity existed between the
appraised and actual market value of their property at the time of the
Another trend revealed by state data evidences the potential
ramifications to local property taxes of oil & gas play speculators. For
<> A block of 6 properties totaling 598.46 acres collectively appraised
at $121,850 sold for the aggregate sum of $3,000,000.
<> A block of 10 properties totaling 603.37 acres collectively appraised
at $68,650 sold for the aggregate sum of $5,350,000.
<> A block of 20 properties totaling 1178.8 acres collectively appraised
at $141,150 sold for the aggregate sum of $17,500,000.
In accord of standardized assessment procedures, the actual selling
price of property within a particular geographic region is factored in
to the appraised market value assigned to neighboring properties by the
county assessor. Though there are some safeguards built into the
Arkansas system of property taxation -- ie: the homestead credit, a
limit on the amount that property taxes may rise during any given year
so long as ownership is not transferred, and regulations which require
that property values be appraised in light of "intended use" (ie: a farm
as a farm, an oil field as an oil field, a home as a home) -- still this
wildcat escalation of property values will in some fashion come around
to impact every resident of Van Buren County. ~~~~
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