Property assessments drop sharply in the city of Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE -- Homeowners in the city of Milwaukee may have opened their mail in the past few days only to be stunned by the latest assessments of their property. City-wide, those assessments are down -- around 13 percent on average.

City Assessor Mary Reavey says this is the biggest drop in property assessments she's seen in 14 years.

"We're not creating the market, we just look at the market. We look at the 2011 sales in order to determine what these numbers are. We don't make up information," Reavey said.

Homeowners have the option to appeal the new assessment. Those appeals must be turned into the city by Monday, May 21st.

Reavey says values rose until the recession hit in 2008. In 2009, residential values dipped seven percent. That was the biggest drop until this year's 13 percent decline.

So what's the reason for this sharp decline in home assessments? Reavey says the biggest reasons are the expired federal first-time home buyer's credit and continuing foreclosures.

"Other properties are affected by the fact those properties are going for lower amounts and there are foreclosures in the neighborhood and the perception of their neighborhood may be less because of those foreclosures," Reavey said.

The drop in home assessments does not guarantee a break on your property taxes. Your taxes at the end of the year will depend largely on the tax rate. So if it goes up, it's possible (depending on your assessment) your taxes could as well.