Judith L. Striewig has been a resident of South Central Pennsylvania her entire life. Commercial real estate appraising is a second career path for Ms. Striewig. After college, she worked for several years in the field of technology as a computer programmer, data analyst, project manager, and business design analyst. In 2004, an opportunity to apprentice as a residential appraiser presented itself. She worked in the residential arena until 2008 when she made a move to appraise commercial real estate. She earned her general certification in 2011 and is currently a candidate for designation with the Appraisal Institute workings towards an MAI designation. Ms. Striewig has two children, enjoys being active, and loves traveling and seeing different parts of the world.
M. Shane Rorke has lived in South Central Pennsylvania his entire life. He entered into the commercial real estate appraisal field in 1996 and has been appraising commercial real estate ever since. Mr. Rorke earned his general certification in 2001. With his wealth of experience Mr. Rorke has appraised most all types of commercial real estate. In recent years he has focused on land subdivision appraisal work and has tracked many Central Pennsylvania markets for in-depth absorption analysis.
Jody M. Ritrievi has lived in Central Pennsylvania most of her life. Ms. Ritrievi was a professional ballerina before completing her paralegal degree in 1998. She worked for an attorney in downtown Harrisburg, before choosing to stay home with her three children. Ms. Ritrievi has been a Notary Public for 4 years and has worked as a research analyst for Ms. Striewig since 2012, learning from her experience and knowledge of the commercial appraisal business.
Kirsten A. Jones settled in Central Pennsylvania in 2001. Ms. Jones has a Master’s of Science in Legal Administration from the University of Denver, College of Law, which afforded her the opportunity to work for the Pennsylvania Judicial System. In 2015, after time off with her children, JSR Appraisal Group hired Ms. Jones as an apprentice. Currently she is working toward her general certification. Outside of work Ms. Jones enjoys an active and enjoyable life with her husband and three children.
Real property taxes are a significant source of income for local authorities. Generally there are three main taxes levied on real property in Pennsylvania:
Several municipalities have other real property taxes including library, fire services, and several other community amenities that may be in addition to or built into the taxes above.
Pennsylvania assessment laws require that real estate be valued according to its “actual value” and at a bona fide rate and price for which the property would separately sell, which is interpreted as market value. Therefore properties are assigned an assessment value.
The assessed value and the appropriate millage rate is used to calculate real estate taxes. Millage rates are the amount per $1,000 that is used to calculate taxes on property. County millage rates are the same for all municipalities in the county, while the municipal and school taxes vary by municipality and school district. The assessed value is multiplied by the millage rate to calculate the tax expense for a property.
In most counties taxes are due twice a year. In late winter/spring the County and Municipal taxes are sent to taxpayers and in mid-summer the school taxes are sent to taxpayers.
A 'base year' establishes an assessed value equal to market value for properties within each county. However as property values increase or decrease over years, the assessment value remains unchanged for a property. To reflect market value using the 'fixed' assessment value, a common level ratio is established annually for each county. A common level ratio (CLR) is: 'the ratio of assessed value to current market value used generally in the county as last determined by the State Tax Equalization Board (STEB).'1 For example if a property is assessed for $450,000 and the county has a common level ratio of 0.99, the 'implied' market value is $445,500 ($450,000 X .99). Or, if a property is assessed for $450,000 and the common level ratio is 1.35, the implied market value is $607,500. Note, counties do not typically re-assess each year. When a county has a re-assessment, the common level ratio is 1.00 and is considered the new base year. Following are the current common level ratios for several South Central Pennsylvania counties:
|County||CLR||Appeal Deadline||Last Re-Assessment|
|Adams||.86||August 1, 2017||2010|
|Cumberland||1.00||September 1, 2017||2010|
|Dauphin||1.37||August 1, 2017||2001|
|Lancaster||1.32||June 1, 2017||2005|
|Lebanon||.94||September 1, 2017||2013|
|Perry||1.03||September 1, 2017||2010|
|Franklin||7.14||August 1, 2017||1961|
|York||1.14||August 1, 2017||2006|
When considering a tax appeal, the ‘implied market value’ is calculated using assessed value and the common level ratio. This amount is then compared to actual market value of a property. If the implied market value exceeds the actual market value, a tax appeal may be warranted. Other factors to consider when deciding to appeal your real estate taxes is how much money will you actually save compared to the cost of filing an appeal. Tax appeal costs include the initial filing fees, possible appraisal fees and possible attorney/legal fees. Not all tax appeals are successful so there is the risk of no change to your assessed value or your annual real estate taxes. Each county has an appeal deadline when all appeals for the following year must be submitted for consideration for taxes for the next year. Above is the deadline for each county.
1 As defined by Pennsylvania Law
Following are average home sale prices by year and county over the last ten years in the South Central Pennsylvania market area. All statistics are extracted from local MLS services and may exclude private and non-brokered sales. Analysis of the year over year average price points to 2011 as the low mark of the recession in South Central PA. Overall market recovery and growth has continued since 2012 through 2016