Chatham County assessments rise 21 percent for homeowners

Published: Jun. 16, 2022 at 3:11 PM EDT
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CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - The prices of gas, groceries and housing have gone sky high.

For property owners, they’re also feeling the cost of inflation as their property tax assessments arrive in the mail.

Residential values in Chatham County are 21 percent higher than last year, according to 2022 assessment data provided by the Chatham County Board of Assessors.

Several homeowners WTOC Investigates heard from say they are experiencing sticker shock with this year’s assessment notice and concerned about how it will impact their property tax bill.

And they’re not alone.

The increased assessments are based on the 2021 home sales prices in the greater Savannah area. They rapidly climbed last year as many buyers faced bid wars to purchase a home.

“I’m hearing stories such as people just kind of walking up to peoples’ doors and asking, ‘Are you willing to sell your house?’ I know personally, I’m get calls every day.”

Chief Appraiser Roderick Conley stories like that defined the hot seller’s market last year.

“In the 10 years that I’ve been here, this is the biggest number that we’ve seen absolutely,” Conley said.

Here’s a look at the cities that saw the biggest residential assessment increases:

  • Tybee - 27 percent increase
  • Pooler - 24 percent increase
  • Port Wentworth – 23 percent increase
  • Savannah - 23 percent increase

Those increases not only affect buyers, but anyone who owns property in Chatham County, including those who have a homestead exemption.

While the data showed home sales trends have continued through the first half of this year, Conley said it’s anyone’s guess how the year will finish.

“I’d be hesitant to forecast anything that may happen in the market, but what I can say: I think what may be going on the financial side with the loans and the interest rates starting to tick up may have some impact.”

Even if home prices begin to drop this year, those decreases will not affect 2022 property assessment values. The assessments for this year are based on home sales in 2021.

Appeal Process

There is a process to appeal property assessment values.

The deadline to appeal is July 15.

There are three ways to appeal - online, by mail or in-person.

The Board of Assessors says to prepare, property owners should review their Property Record Card to make sure it’s accurate, such as the year the home was built, condition and listed property improvements.

Then, you can compare your home value to comparable sales in the neighborhood.

You can also look at how the new assessment affects your property taxes.

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