DuPage property values drop 6 percent
For the first time in 40 years, the overall value of property in DuPage County has dropped -- and by almost 6 percent, a reflection of a housing market that has plummeted in the past few years.
"This is the first time in modern-day history that the county's assessed valuation decreased in a year," County Clerk Gary King announced Tuesday. "We've been on an uphill climb from the beginning, growing like crazy. Now because of the fallout of the whole market, we've actually gone down."
Despite a historic drop in the value of land last year, King said, homeowners can expect to pay more on their property tax bills.
While average assessed property value dropped 5.9 percent, the average tax rate for DuPage's 372 taxing bodies -- the other half of the tax equation -- jumped 11.6 percent.
The net result: an average 5.7 percent countywide property tax increase.
"The tax bills are going up a little bit, but there was no growth," said King, adding the total number of taxable parcels countywide fell slightly from 334,837 in 2009 to 334,715 in 2010. "No one is building anything new."
King stressed that just because the value of someone's home dropped it doesn't mean the person will pay less property taxes.
"That doesn't decide how much tax you pay," he said. "It just decides what share of it you pay."
Taxing bodies ask for specific amounts of tax dollars each year. Since 1991, the state-imposed cap limits most of those governments to increases of 5 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower.
But the Consumer Price Index rose significantly from 0.1 percent in 2009 to 2.7 percent in 2010. And taxing districts throughout DuPage sought more money through their levies, officials said. And when the total tax take is distributed among fewer taxpayers, the increase individuals will see is greater.
King said the baffling part is why the rate of inflation increased so much in the first place. "It (the economy) got worse," he said. "So why would the CPI go up? It's difficult to explain."
Residents can expect their property tax bills to arrive about May 1. Payments are due in June and September.
School districts take up most of the tax bill -- 72.6 percent. Municipalities comprise 10.2 percent.
Local governments have until March 30 to lower their rates by abating taxes. But county officials are expecting minimal changes to the tentative numbers.