Surging home values push property taxes higher

Posted at 6:36 PM, May 07, 2019

PUEBLO – Southern Colorado homeowners may be experiencing sticker shock after receiving their new property assessments in the mail. On average, assessments in Pueblo County are up by 15 to 20 percent compared to two years ago. Assessor Frank Beltran says the increase is a reflection of the community’s booming housing market.

“It just boomed. I’ve worked in this office for 38 years and I’ve never seen it like this,” Beltran said.

Marlene Berrier, the incoming chair of the Pueblo Association of Realtors said there is high demand for houses and a low inventory which pushes prices up.

“Our median market is around $197,000 right now which is up from about two years ago which was $165,000.”

The population in Pueblo is growing, but Berrier believes a lot of the demand for homes is coming from buyers looking to relocate here. After all, prices are more attractive compared to other cities in Colorado. For example, the median home price in Colorado Springs is $315,000.

“It is $100,000 difference, and so if you are on a budget or an income that can’t support the 315, come down to Pueblo because you’re going to be able to afford it and get more house and get more land,” Berrier said.

When it comes to assessing properties for tax purposes, Beltran explained the appraisers on his staff must use recent home sales figures to determine market value.

“We don’t have magic, we don’t see the future,” Beltran said. “It’s all historical information.”

There is a one month protest period in which property owners who believe their value is incorrect can dispute the figure. The protest period ends on June 1, which is a Saturday. So, Beltran extended the window through Monday, June 3.

Homeowners who pay property taxes by saving money in escrow with their monthly mortgage payments may need to contact their lenders to make sure they’re saving enough to cover the higher tax bill.