Far fewer Denver homeowners disputed their property’s assessed value this year compared to the last cycle.
The Denver Assessor’s Office told BusinessDen it received 3,374 residential valuation protests this year, compared to 7,998 in 2019. That’s a drop of nearly 58 percent.
Notices of the new valuations were mailed May 1, and the deadline for property owners to begin the appeal process was June 1.
Denver Assessor Keith Erffmeyer said the decline was likely due to relatively tame increases in valuations this cycle. The average assessment for a single-family home increased 7 percent this cycle, compared to 21 percent in 2019.
Additionally, the assessments largely don’t take into account the boom that the housing market in Colorado and much of the country has seen since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
That’s because real property in Colorado is revalued every odd-numbered year. The latest valuations are based on transactions and market conditions from July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2020. That period largely predates the pandemic housing boom, which has been spurred in part by low inventory and interest rates.
“By the time people got their notices in May of this year, based on their value, June of last year, they look at that and said, ‘I really don’t have much to complain about here,’” Erffmeyer said. “That would explain, I think, why the protests on the residential side were so low.”
Because the assessor only looked at transactions and market conditions through June 2020, it actually found a “slight cooling” of the real estate market following the rise of COVID.
“We didn’t find that the pandemic had a great impact on residential values,” Erffmeyer said. “It definitely slowed down the number of sales for a little while, when people couldn’t go out and show properties and visit properties and go to closings and all that kind of stuff.”
For single-family residences and townhomes, the highest median valuation rise was in the Barnum neighborhood at 15.5 percent, whereas the lowest change was in the Country Club neighborhood at -0.9 percent, according to a map published by the Assessor’s Office in the spring.
Erffmeyer said about half of the appeals filed with the city result in a change of the valuation. Disputes aren’t always fully resolved quickly. Property owners can appeal to the state Board of Assessment, and those appeals can take up to two years.
There wasn’t as much of a shift in assessment appeals on the commercial real estate side.
Erffmeyer said there were 5,340 protests in Denver this cycle, compared to 5,058 in 2019 — an increase of 5.6 percent.
He also said the numbers can be kind of skewed because owners of multiple parcels within one structure (like a parking garage that’s been subdivided) can file protests for each of the parcels.
Although the official valuation numbers for specific industries will not be available until November, Erffmeyer said hotels and lodging saw the biggest dip in valuations, as they had virtually no business from March to June 2020.