With skyrocketing home prices, Lexington owners seeing big property tax increases

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Posted at 11:00 PM, Apr 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-29 23:00:20-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Homeowners in Fayette County are discovering how much the hot housing market is affecting their property taxes.

Fayette County Property Value Administrator David O'Neill said his office assesses the values of about 25% of Fayette County homes every year. That means people can generally expect a new valuation every four years.

"The people who have been reassessed this year for 2022, the last time they were reassessed was in 2018. In 2018, the median sale price was $191,000. Today, it's $260,000. That's a 36% increase in that period of time," O'Neill said.

That means people who are getting their new assessments this year are seeing a big increase. Those who have been watching the market are not surprised.

"We've been keeping an eye on property values and, I mean, from what I've seen, they've skyrocketed all across the county. It wasn't really surprising. I was actually kind of glad it came in where it was at because, comparatively on a few other sites like Zillow, it's saying it's worth another 30 or 40 thousand," said Barry Berlin.

Berlin said his home value had increased by $30,000 since the last assessment. If you feel the value is incorrect, there is a process to challenge it.

"Please feel free to call our office or email the contact information on your notice and talk to us about the assessment. You can also initiate a protest on a form online that's very easy, doesn't take a lot of time to do. Someone from this office will reach back out to you," O'Neill said.

For people like Barry Berlin, though, the extra taxes are a good indicator that their investment is going in the right direction.

"For me, it's good. I'm not looking to sell this property anytime soon, so obviously the more value goes up, the more money is coming into my pocket. The monthly's going to go up a little bit, but in the long run, I'm glad to see the property value steadily increasing in this area," Berlin said.

Friday afternoon, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported there was a cluster of homes downtown, including former Lexington Mayor Jim Gray's, that hadn't increased in value in many years. O'Neill said the issue was brought to his attention this week.

"I took a look at it and I agree that they were, in some cases, significantly under-assessed, so we brought those up to fair cash value for 2022. Basically, the reason is, in 2020 we did not do much reassessing because we were headed into the whole COVID shutdown and it just wasn't the right time to be changing property values. A lot's happened in the last couple of years and some of those values have gone up fairly significantly in the six years since they had been previously reviewed," O'Neill said.

Gray told the Herald-Leader that he was happy to pay the taxes on the adjusted value.