By Catherine Bass | Community News Service
For the first time since 2007, properties in Winooski will be reappraised.
This is due to Winooski — and many places in Vermont — reaching the Common Level of Appraisal of over 75%, according to the city. The Common Level of Appraisal, or CLA, is a ratio of the grand list assessed value compared to the sales price for all arms-length sales in a town over the prior three-year period. It’s set by the state as a way to determine tax rates for the state education fund.
When grand list prices are less than sale prices for recent sales, the town will end up with a CLA of less than a 100%. If grand list prices are more than sale prices for recent sales, a town will end up with a CLA of more than 100%.
When a town’s CLA is less than 85% or more than 115%, Vermont law requires a reappraisal of property values.
Ted Nelson, the appointed city assessor for Winooski, said towns usually put off getting a housing appraisal because “[property] values have held up well.”
But “[property] values become obsolete when in a recession or inflationary period,” such as the economic downturn triggered by the spread of Covid-19 worldwide. Properties in Vermont are selling for more than their appraised value.
One reason for that trend is because “Vermont was viewed as a safe place to live in,” Nelson said, and “folks from outside [the state moved in], driving the sale prices up.”
Cathy Sweaton of the Vermont Realtors Association notes also that “supply and demand is tight” right now in Winooski. Sweaton anticipates the reappraisal will affect leasing prices but have little impact on people buying houses in the city.
Tom Proctor, a housing rights organizer for the activist group Rights & Democracy who has worked on efforts to enact just-cause eviction legislation, also anticipates that the reappraisal will cause rents to increase. But he thinks the reappraisal will only add “a few percent to [property values].”
He also mentions that Winooski’s just-cause eviction proposal, which is currently in the hands of the Legislature, would not likely be in effect by the time the reappraisal is finished — meaning that renters might not be as protected against rent spikes.
The new values from the reappraisal are set to come into effect April 1, 2024, for the 2024-25 budget and tax year.
The Community News Service is part of the Reporting and Documentary Storytelling Program at the University of Vermont.