By Town of Middletown

So, the assessment on your residential property went up during the recent property revaluation in Middletown?

According to statistics from the tax department for the town, you’re not alone, far from it.

Tax Assessor George Durgin said single-family residential property values increased by an average rate of 20 percent as part of this statistical revaluation. On the commercial side, Durgin said the average increase was slightly higher than 8 percent.

Taxpayers are reminded they cannot use their updated assessments to determine their fiscal 2022 tax bill because the Town Council has not set the new tax rate yet. Typically, that comes in late May, when a new budget is expected to be adopted.

“The trend in Middletown and throughout Rhode Island is consistent with what we’re seeing nationally,” Durgin said. “Recently, ‘The Wall Street Journal’ reported that home values are increasing the fastest pace in 15 years and that national values increased by nearly 12 percent over the past 12 months alone.”

The piece, which ran in a recent edition of the Journal, referred to the current situation with real estate as a “super seller” market highlighting the high demand and limited supply in almost every part of the country.

According to the Journal piece, the median existing home price in the United States is now about $310,000. In Middletown, revaluation numbers showed that number at $430,000 for residential and $805,000 for commercial property.

Durgin said the total assessed value of all property in Middletown was now at $3.578 billion. That’s close to a 15 percent hike since the last property revaluation.

As for why there’s such demand for housing, the Journal cited a number of factors. In addition to historically low mortgage rates, the Journal said millions of millennials are now in the market in their 30s and looking to buy. The Journal also said new home construction is lagging far behind demand and many owners are keeping their homes longer.

The Journal went onto say the COVID-19 pandemic has played a role too. With more people than ever before working from home, the Journal indicated that people are looking for more office space in their homes and feeling more comfortable being further away from their offices.

The Town Council isn’t sitting on the sidelines with these issues though. Well aware of the trends, the council recently commissioned separate committees to work on ways to make Middletown more affordable for senior citizens and families.

As part of the town’s revamped website, there’s a new community portal called “Middletown Shares.” Through the page, people can learn the latest about senior affordable housing and offer feedback through a passively moderated community forum. Click on the following link to visit that portal.

In terms of what’s next, Durgin said there are a number factors in play. Among those include:

  • Property owners have had the opportunity to talk about their proposed assessments with Vision Government Solutions, which handled the revaluation process. This process has been done in-person typically, but because of COVID-19, the hearings were conducted by telephone.
  • Notices will be sent to property owners whose values have been adjusted.
  • Property owners who did not get an opportunity to speak to Vision can contact Durgin’s office about the assessments prior to the certification of the tax roll.
  • The tax roll is expected to be certified in late June and the tax rates are set.
  • The next opportunity to challenge an assessment is through the formal appeal process, which runs from Sept. 10 through Dec. 10.

“Middletown’s is a suburban oceanfront community, which enhances its market appeal,” Durgin said. “Other factors that influence the value trend include a strong economy and low interest rates. For most commercial property types like office, retail and industrial, rents are not increasing to a point where values are increasing significantly.”

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