Assessments to drop 4 percent County's action doesn't mean taxes will drop necessarily
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
by Karen Berkowitz
Evanston homeowners weren't due for a reassessment this year, but these aren't typical times in the housing market.
The decline in home values throughout Cook County prompted Assessor
James Houlihan to adjust the assessments for all 30 suburban townships
to reflect market conditions in each township.
Evanston homeowners received 2009 assessment notices this week that
lopped 4 percent off the assessed value that the county assigned
previously in 2007.
The 4 percent figure was the lowest reduction of the six townships
announced so far -- a sign that home values may be holding up better in
Evanston than in other communities.
"I really do not believe this adequately shows the impact of all of
the foreclosures and short sales," said Evanston Township Assessor
Sharon Eckersall, citing news reports that distressed sales accounted
for 43 percent of all home sales in Cook County within the past 90
"I would say prices are off at least 10 or 15 percent," said Heidt,
a longtime Realtor with the Evanston office of Coldwell Banker.
"Everyone's impression is that with the downturn in prices, that taxes
should go down accordingly."
In Oak Park, assessments were lowered by 7 percent and in River
Forest, by 5 percent. Homes in Riverside Township were knocked down 12
percent, and in Cicero and Norwood Park, by 15 percent.
The new 2009 values won't affect property tax calculations until the
fall of 2010 and, even then, won't have much of an effect on the taxes
paid to the city of Evanston, School District 65 and School District
202, which collectively account for 85 percent of the tax bill. At the
local level, tax rates will rise to make up for the 4 percent decline
in taxable values.
What the reductions will do is head off a tax shift from the city of
Chicago to the suburbs, following Chicago's reassessment this year, for
the portion of the tax bill that goes to Cook County and the
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District.
"The situation we are facing in the real estate market is
extraordinary, and the downturn has had an impact on home values," said
The county is in the process of formalizing a new assessment system
that makes it easy to tell if the assessment accurately reflects the
home's value. Under the new system, residential assessments will be 10
percent of a market value that more closely reflects the home's sales
price, were it to be put on the market. So a home with a $30,000
assessed value could be expected to sell for $300,000. In the past, the
assessor's "market values" have been artificially low.
The new system won't increase or decrease the assessment, but will
make it easier for homeowners to tell if they are being accurately
assessed, according to the assessor.
A full, 72-page list of Evanston Township assessments is published in this week's edition of the Review.
Homeowners can check their assessment records and new market values
by Property Index Number (PIN) or street address by clicking on the
county assessor link at pioneerlocal.com that lets homeowners compare
their assessments with similar properties and appeal their assessments
The deadline for filing Evanston Township appeals is Aug. 10.