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Some Philadelphia residents may appeal new property valuations

2/21/2013 | Real Estate Blog

The Philadelphia Office of Property, in an attempt to accurately determine real estate values throughout the city, conducted an assessment that created over 600 Geographic Market Areas. These are small groupings of blocks in which properties are similar and sell for similar prices.

The results of the citywide reassessment have been mixed, particularly among property owners facing the largest tax increases. Commentators on the reassessment say there are generally three categories of reactions. First, there are those who saw their assessments rise but feel they are generally accurate; then, there are those who say their assessments are fair but that the tax increase will be very burdensome; finally, there are those who say their new values are completely inaccurate.

Matt Ruben of the Northern Liberties Neighbors Association has said that the reassessment is much more accurate and fair overall, but that some problems exist. This is particularly true in areas of the city facing tax increases from Mayor Nutter’s Actual Value Initiative, including the river wards from South Philadelphia to Port Richmond.

Some, particularly First District Councilman Mark Squilla, have questions the large increases in value for properties in poorer areas of South Philadelphia, and have raised concerns that more will be simply unable to pay their taxes. Squilla has said he plans to organize community meetings and possibly arrange for attorneys to help resident prepare appeals of their valuations. These would have to be filed before the tax bills arrive at the end of 2013.

Residents who feel they may have received an improper valuation should consider the possibility of appealing their valuation.

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, “Mixed reviews greet Philly’s citywide real estate reassessment,” Troy Graham, February 18, 2013