With the housing bubble bursting, and home prices adjusting downward, I can’t imagine tax assessment and appraisal without automated tools. The tax assessors valuation of property will likely engender record numbers of disputes over the next few years as the implications of property devaluation starts to take hold.
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Computer Aided Mass Appraisal (CAMA) have been effectively coupled for years, and have been the focus of a URISA sponsored conference. The map view and spatial analysis provide a vital component to automated appraisals. I imagine that the value of this combination will increase significantly as the number of foreclosures in neighborhoods dramatically affects the cost of the homes around them.
As new assessments will have a dramatic affect on the tax base and revenue of local governments, it will become increasingly important to defend the valuations, and back them up with definitive details. Assessments at the high end of the scale will see the greatest litigation as homeowners can raise issues when there’s no market for the really high end home.
Larry Ellison of Oracle recently forced a reassessment of his property in Woodside, Calif. The 23-acre estate was valued at $173 million, but was dropped to $69.7 million when contested. Certainly there will be more such suits as the price of homes begin to adjust downward. As assessment and tax issues arise, you can bet on future policy reforms and the increased use of software tools to address equity in the tax roles. I can see the oncoming need for new tools and new tax policy to avert major deficits for local government.
I would bet that the 13th Annual GIS/CAMA Technologies Conference in Charleston, S.C. from Feb. 8-11, 2009, will be well attended, with some interesting sessions and case studies from blighted communities.