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County appraisal numbers making the grade
Housing glut, flooding may impact values
appraisal ratio pic
Pictured are members of the Barton County Appraiser’s Office staff who worked on this year’s appraisals. Left to right are Wendy Prosser, Jame Allen, Tracy Miller, Christina Doyle, Kelli Bayless, Dinorah Charbonneau, Ellen Fischer, Phil Kepka, Rachel Neiman and County Appraiser Barb Esfeld. Charbonneau has since moved away. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

Barton County Appraiser Barb Esfeld gave an update on the 2018 Real Estate Appraisal/Sales Ratio Study to the County Commission Monday morning. The news was good.

“We were very proud of our grade card,” Esfeld said. Esfeld was referring to the most recent Kansas Appraisal/Sales Ratio Study which gauges appraisal levels and their uniformity in relation to compliance with state statutes.

The Kansas Constitution requires that all taxable property be appraised and assessed uniformly as to class, Esfeld said. “Uniformity of like property assures an equitable distribution of the property tax burden.”

The study evaluates appraisals to determine a ratio that measures fairness and substantial statutory compliance, she said. Although it is a complex process, basically, the ratios are computed by dividing the appraised value of real estate as determined by the county appraiser by the total selling price of the real property.

Using this formula, a perfect ratio would be 100 and the statute requires a county to be within 10 percent of that. “We’re pleased that Barton County met those,” Esfeld said.

The total 2018 market ratio for Barton County is 101.6, compared to 99.2 in 2017. The 2018 figure is the most recent on record since it is the only year that has been finalized, Esfeld said. 

Breaking it down further, for 2017 the residential ratio was 95.1 with 323 sales, and for 2018,it was 101.5 with 276 sales. For 2017 the commercial ratio was 82.9 using 19 sales and is now 102.5 based on nine sales (which is a challenge with so few samples).

The ratios have improved over recent years, she said. In 2015, the residential was 98 and commercial 82, and in 2016, they were 98 and 95 respectively.

Changes coming

But, there are changes on the horizon, Esfeld said. Looking at the number of residential sales used, the number of samples was 323 in 2015 and has steadily decreased since.

“The number of sales is down,” she said. “The market is saturated.”

It is a matter of supply and demand, she said. They are seeing prices come down as well.

The flooding this last spring is another issue, she said. They are contacting homeowners in various parts of Great Bend who had issues to see if adjustments have to be made.

“We are going to see some values going down in some very nice areas,” she said.

An educational process

She also reported on the International Association of Assessing Officers conference held Sept. 8-11 in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, and continuing education. “It was a very good conference,” she said. 

There were 1,176 attendees, 28 of whom were from Kansas. “We were very well represented.”

Over the three days, they had 115 sessions to choose from. Esfeld picked the ones she felt would do Barton County the most good.

She learned more about cross training personnel, the possibility of using regional numbers to determine commercial values (with only nine samples in Barton County, this could be beneficial), the impact of the cannabis and hemp industry and big-box stores.

“It was hard to pick,” she said. But, she said she came back with some good ideas and tips.

Esfeld is the past president of the Kansas County Appraisers Association.