The City Assessor’s Office is responsible for estimating the market value of all locally assessable property in the City of Milwaukee and producing an annual assessment roll listing all taxable property as of January 1st of each year. The assessment roll describes the property, states the assessed value as of January 1st and lists the owner’s name and address. These values will be used to compute property tax statements in December.
The goal of a revaluation is create to uniform, equitable and fair assessments so that each property bears its fair share of the property tax burden on an annual basis. Since 2002 the City of Milwaukee has conducted annual revaluations of property. The City Assessor’s Office is well aware that the dynamics of the market are significantly different than conditions we were experiencing prior to 2008. Part of the reason the Mayor and Council determined that yearly revaluations were in the city’s best interest are validated by what we see in the market today. Milwaukee’s neighborhoods are very diverse and the real estate market is not stagnant but ever-changing. Tracking the sales, foreclosures, board-ups and other market information throughout the City we found varying degrees of market influences that needed to be reflected in this years’ assessed values.
There are many forces in the marketplace that affect a property’s value. The Assessor is interested in determining the value based on the price a knowledgeable buyer would pay for a piece of property. As defined by Wisconsin State Statute, assessors must values property at “full value.” "Full Value" has been defined by the courts as synonymous with market value. Market value is “the most probable price, in cash or its equivalent, which a property would bring in a competitive and open market under all conditions requisite to a fair sale: the buyer and seller each acting prudently, knowledgeably, and without compulsion. Note that market value is neither the highest nor the lowest price paid, but the ‘most probable price’. Buyers and sellers, through their market transactions, tell Assessors important factors and trends taking place in the market. It is the consummated sales between buyers and sellers that meet market value conditions that ultimately are used in determining assessed values.
The fairest and most uniform process is to update assessments frequently. Because of our yearly revaluation program we can deal with these factors swiftly by recognizing change in the market for each January 1st assessment date. For the January 1, 2013 valuations, the 2012 sales and other relevant market data were analyzed. Any changes in the market we experience during 2013 will be considered for the 2014 revaluation.
Many property owners equate new assessed values with corresponding changes to their property tax bill. That is not necessarily the result nor is it the reason for the revaluation. The revaluation ensures that the distribution of property taxes is fair, impartial and uniform based on the market value standard.
Many factors affect values and cause assessment changes to differ. As all real estate professional will agree, location is the single most important consideration. However, type of property, design, condition, quality and many other factors also play a role in determining value. Property taxes, on the other hand are determined by various taxing bodes including, the State of Wisconsin, Milwaukee Public Schools, Milwaukee County, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewage District, Milwaukee Area Technical College and the City of Milwaukee – not the Assessor’s Office. Any complaints about taxes should be addressed directly to those units of government. The amount that each property owner will pay in taxes will not be determined until December when all the taxing units approve their budgets.