A strong real estate market is helping drive up residential property values across Scott County as many homeowners are seeing in assessment notices from the assessor's office.
"The real estate market in Scott County is very active, very hot right now," said County Assessor Tom McManus. "Residential values are continuing to rise."
The assessor, who handles property values for all of Scott County except Davenport, mailed 38,000 assessment notices late last month. McManus said notices were sent to all property owners — whether or not the property value was adjusted.
He said some areas in Bettendorf, Eldridge and LeClaire, where the housing market is strong, "saw some significant adjustments" as high as 5 percent. "Other areas saw little or no adjustment."
Values are based on sales in the market. "We do not set the market," he said, adding "The range is different, all based on what sales are telling us to do."
"Our job is to try to set the value at what you could reasonably get if you walked outside and put a 'for sale' sign in your yard," McManus said.
Bettendorf's residential values rose $129 million overall, or 4 percent, to $3.296 billion. Eldridge's residential values increased $24.79 million, or 4.77 percent, to $543.53 million while LeClaire's residential values rose $23.16 million, or 5.60 percent, to $436.15 million.
The assessor's office also performed a land revaluation this year in Eldridge and LeClaire as well as in Donahue, which saw a 13.7 percent increase in home values. Dixon was the only community where the city's total home values dropped. The total value decreased $23,780, or less than 1 percent, to $9.07 million. In unincorporated Scott County, values rose 3.3 percent.
County-wide, residential values rose 4 percent to $5.96 billion.
In addition, the office assesses commercial, industrial, multi-family and agricultural properties in Scott County. The city of Davenport has its own assessor.
McManus said commercial properties also are showing an uptick, including in Bettendorf where commercial property values grew by $27 million to $525.53 million.
County-wide, commercial property values increased 4 percent to $854.54 million while industrial increase 1.3 percent to $144.23 million. Multi-family property values rose 18 percent to $146.32 million. Agricultural land decreased 26 percent to $299.43 million. Agricultural dwellings decreased 7 percent to $198.93 million.
Per Iowa law, properties are re-assessed in odd-numbered years.
The new 2019 assessments will be used in calculating property taxes to be paid beginning in September of 2020 and the spring of 2021, he said.
McManus said it is too early to know how many property owners may protest their assessments, but he urged anyone with questions or concerns to call or visit his office.
Typically, property owners understand adjustments when they have made improvements or expansions. "It's when they haven't done anything and their value goes up — that's when they tend to give us a call," he said. "We tell them it is sales around them that are driving the value up."
Property owners can appeal the assessment either through an informal assessment review with the assessor's office until April 25 or a formal protest before the Board of Review until April 30.
His advice is that people make sure they are receiving all the credits they are due including the homestead tax credit and military tax credit. Commercial property owners can receive a business property tax credit.
Property owners can check if they are receiving such credits at the assessor's website, where they also can fill out applications for the credits. The website is scottcountyiowa.com/assessor.