ABQ area has 3 times as many $1 million homes as decade ago

The Bernalillo County Assessor’s Office raised values on 84.5% of Bernalillo County residential properties in 2021, according to value notices issued this spring – the highest number to have an increase in at least six years. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

Nearly 600 Albuquerque-area homes now have an assessed value of at least $1 million – about three times as many as there were a decade ago.

According to data from the Bernalillo County Assessor’s Office – which determines property values for taxation purposes – the number of $1 million homes increased 29.2% in 2021. There are now 588 countywide, up from 455 last year and 396 two years ago.

In 2011, there were 198.

And the current number likely would be higher, officials say, if homeowners were not protected by a cap on valuation increases.

Albuquerque has a sizzling real estate market, with soaring prices. The vast majority of county homeowners had an increase on the valuation notices the assessor sent this spring.

“Everything that we do is really dictated by what is going on in that market,” said County Assessor Tanya Giddings, whose office uses a mass appraisal system.

While Giddings’ office is responsible for determining and maintaining the “current and correct” value of houses, commercial buildings and other properties, state law prohibits her from raising a home’s assessed value by more than 3% per year except in certain cases. The vast majority of the county’s residential parcels are subject to the cap, meaning many have an assessed value lower than market value.

The total of Bernalillo County residential assessments is estimated to be 81% of the total market-based cost values.

Homes are nestled in the Sandia Mountain foothills in Albuquerque’s Northeast Heights. In Northeast neighborhoods, the assessor raised values on 92.4% of residential properties this year. The valuations are used to determine how much homeowners must pay in property taxes. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

There are some exceptions to the cap. That includes homes that were recently sold or improved. Those property assessments can increase as much as necessary to meet current market value.

Of the nearly 11,000 properties raised to meet current and correct market value – including those recently sold or, in some cases, newly built on what was vacant land – the median valuation increase was $44,700 this year, according to the assessor’s data.

Increases for 84.5%

Overall, the assessor raised values on 84.5% of all Bernalillo County residential properties in 2021, according to value notices issued this spring.

That is the highest percentage of properties to receive an increase in at least six years.

In 2020, 65.1% of residential properties had a valuation increase. In 2019, it was 73.6%.

Homes were more likely to have valuation increases in certain parts of the county.

In northeast neighborhoods, the assessor raised values on 92.4% of residential properties. In the southeast area, it was 90.9%. But the same was true of fewer than half – 47.8% – of the homes in the mountain neighborhoods.

Countywide, 14.3% of residential properties had no change in their value notices, while 1.2% experienced a decrease.

The total net taxable value of all county residential properties rose 5.14% – or $745.8 million – to $14.5 billion, based on value notices. However, the number is subject to change as valuation protests continue working through the system.

Tax hikes limited by law

The assessor’s valuations are used to determine how much homeowners will pay in property taxes, but Giddings contends that rising valuations do not automatically translate to higher tax bills.

“That’s not always necessarily the case,” Giddings said.

There are “too many outside factors” involved to make that assumption, Deputy County Assessor Clyde Ward said.

That includes the tax rate – which will be set later this year – and influences such as yield control. That is an adjustment required by state statute to prevent local governments from generating large amounts of new revenue from higher property appraisals.

“The result in a district in which appraisals have increased values is that property tax rates are reduced so that, when applied to the new property values including the reappraised values, they yield only the limited revenue growth allowed. In short, rates are adjusted downward in the same proportion that reappraisals have increased total values,” the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration explains on its website.

The Bernalillo County treasurer sends out the tax bills on Nov. 1 each year.

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