Cook County Record

Friday, October 18, 2019

Rising assessments in Chicago may signal end of real estate market downturn

By Dawn Geske | Sep 7, 2016

CHICAGO – The latest assessment values for Cook County, showing an increase in the city of Chicago, signal that the steady decline that began in 2008 may be at an end.

Assessed values in the City of Chicago have increased countywide, with locally assessed property increasing from $53.5 billion to $56.7 billion in both residential and commercial properties in the area. Residential properties saw an increase of $1.7 billion while commercial and industrial property values increased by $1 billion.

“The assessment declines that started in 2008 have stopped and have started to turn around, but they are still not back up to the level they were in 2008 with the real estate crash,” Scott R. Metcalf, partner at Franczek Radelet, told the Cook County Record.

While the city of Chicago has seen an increase, good news may be on the way for other areas of Cook County that will undergo assessments within the next few years. The City of Chicago was one of the more recent areas to undergo assessments, to be followed by the northern suburban areas in 2016 and southern suburban areas in 2017.

“The county is divided into three reassessment zones, and the city of Chicago was just reassessed in 2015,” said Metcalf. “That is why the numbers are up, because that was just one of the ones that was subject to a complete reassessment of every property. In 2016 the north suburbs will be reassessed, and we’re seeing the first-pass assessments in the north suburbs are also increasing for 2016, and then in 2017 the south suburbs will be reassessed.”

With decreases in property value assessments that occurred for several years from 2010 to 2015, this may be welcoming news for such communities as Cicero, which saw huge declines in property value assessments during this time period of as much as 32 percent – the largest in the state of Illinois.

During that same time, Metcalf said, “I didn’t see a suburban township that had an increase in assessed values.”

While assessed values are going up, it doesn’t necessarily mean that taxes in Cook County will increase, as this amount is set by the government.

“What the assessed values do is determine how that tax burden is divided up,” said Metcalf. “What is really more important than whether assessments are increasing or decreasing on an aggregate level is what your individual assessment is doing in relation to everybody.”

If everybody else’s assessment goes up faster than yours, you’re going to pay less in taxes, Metcalf said. If yours goes up faster than everyone else’s, you’ll pay more in taxes.

“The overall amount of money collected is determined by the government, not by the assessment,” said Metcalf.

These new increased assessment values may indicate that the economic downturn has stopped and the real estate market may be making a comeback.

“I think the economic downturn and the reeling real estate values are at an end,” said Metcalf. “We’ve started to turn the corner, but it will take a long time to get back to the home prices that were in existence in 2008 before the crash.”

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Organizations in this Story

City of Chicago Franczek Radelet P.C.