Bill could bring relief to plummeting home values

by: Carl Willis Updated:

DECATUR, Ga.,None - A bill moving through the Georgia House of Representatives could bring relief to plummeting home values.

House Bill 794 aims to rework the current law that uses the most recent real estate transactions as the maximum allowable fair market value for the next taxable year.
Under the bill, those transactions, including foreclosures, would only be considered in determining home values.

Treva Jones said that could help her. She's put years of memories and thousands of dollars into her home in Decatur. It's a home that she hopes will be a legacy that she can leave to her four children.

"The foundation that I thought I was leaving for my children, it's at stake," Jones said. "It's a question mark now."

What's in question is the home's value. Jones said it has been assessed at nearly $100,000 less than the price she paid for it six years ago. It's due mainly to the number of foreclosed homes all around her.

"The pendulum has swung too far," said state Rep. Rahn Mayo, (D) Decatur.

That's why Mayo is sponsoring HB 794. He said it will balance the way tax assessors value homes and communities.

Mayo told Channel 2 Action News reporter Carl Willis that when an earlier bill was moving through the House two years ago it was a much different story. He said people were calling him saying they were hopeful that the tax assessor would lower the value of their home so their property taxes would be more manageable.

"That was a few years ago, and now they're telling me that value has been dropped so much that they’re so afraid that if they try to sell their home, they're going to be in trouble and won't be able to get a reasonable value for their home," Mayo said.

So far, the bill has received bipartisan support. It would still take foreclosures into account, but wouldn't keep them as the driver in determining home values.

Jones said it's a simple fix that could help thousands of homeowners when it's time to sell.

"It's a fight worth fighting, and I'm committed to what I have to do protect and preserve the dream that was sold to me," she said.

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