The value of about 75 percent of properties in York County will increase in the county's latest assessment, to be mailed to taxpayers in May.
Taxpayers won't know until October, however, if they will pay higher taxes as a result.
Tax assessments won't happen until cities, the county and the school districts set their millage rates.
Reassessing property values is not about "raising taxes," said Teresa Simmons, York County's assessor.
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"It is intended to distribute the taxes collected more fairly among all property owners," she said.
"Without reassessment, taxpayers in faster growing areas will pay taxes on a smaller percentage of value than those in slower moving areas."
Why higher values?
York County Manager Jim Baker said he is worried the public's perception of a depressed market might lead to expectations of decreased property values and taxes.
Several factors contribute to many properties having higher values than in the 2006 assessment. The 2006 assessment was based on real estate sales data collected in the previous years.
A lot has changed in the market since then, Simmons said.
Property assessments usually take place every five years, using prior-year sales. The county took an optional one-year extension for the 2005 and 2010 scheduled assessments, completing them in 2006 and 2011.
Property values, defined by sale prices, generally rose throughout 2006, 2007 and into 2008, Simmons said.
But the county's assessed property values remained at the 2006 rate unless changes -known as "assessable transfers of interest" - required reassessment. Types of assessable transfers of interest include new construction or an owner requesting a reassessment.
That means from 2006 on, most property owners paid taxes on values lower than what they could have sold their properties for as the market climbed.
With property sales and values seemingly on the decline, property owners might now expect lower assessments, while many properties still hold at values above the 2006 assessment.
Market flux, recession
Because the assessment began in 2007 and lasted for several years, the assessors office frequently reviews values, adjusting them up or down to follow market trends, Simmons said.
Continuous review should prevent any market fluctuations which happened early in the assessment process from determining a property's value for 2011, she said.
Foreclosures and short sales are usually not considered in setting the assessment, unless they are the only types of sales taking place.
A short sale occurs when the sale proceeds fall short of the balance owed on the property's loan.
"If you had a whole complex of condos, and the only sales in there were foreclosures and short sales, we'd definitely have to look at it in that area," she said.
Otherwise, they consider what buyers pay to sellers.
Then, they compare the assessment to the prices at which sellers listed their properties.
"We look at that to see if we're in line with the market values."
What you need to know
Property assessment notices will go out between May 1 and June 1.
Taxpayers have 90 days from the date of the notice to contest the assessed value.
Tax notices for the 2011 tax year will go out in October.