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Assessed values of homes to be cut

Cook County Assessor Jim Houlihan announced today that suburban residential properties not being reassessed this year will receive a market adjustment reflecting the real estate downturn.


Cook County Assessor Jim Houlihan announced today that suburban residential properties not being reassessed this year will receive a market adjustment reflecting the real estate downturn.

“The situation we are facing is extraordinary. Foreclosures and declines in sale prices and volume have taken a toll on home values,” Houlihan said. “After careful analysis of market sales and foreclosure data, we determined these townships should not have to wait until their next reassessment for the impact to be reflected.”

“Homeowners are already getting less protection from the 7 percent Expanded Homeowner Exemption this year,” Houlihan added, noting the General Assembly’s decision to phase it out. “That makes the adjustment even more urgent.”

As part of this historic step, the Assessor’s Office will mail notices to every property owner in Cook County this year. Normally, properties are assessed every three years and receive notices only then. The north suburbs, including Evanston, are not scheduled to be reassessed until 2010; the south and west suburbs will be reassessed in 2011.

This year, each suburban township will receive an adjustment percentage, which will lower the existing assessed values of all residential properties in that township, Houlihan said. The reductions will likely range from 4 percent to 15 percent.

“Areas hit hard by foreclosures and market drops will see the biggest reductions. We will continue to monitor the market. The percentage reductions will change if the conditions warrant it,” Houlihan said.

The first notices will be sent to River Forest Township in May and will reflect a 5 percent reduction for residences there. Cicero Township, burdened by a high foreclosure rate and a battered sales market, will receive a 15 percent reduction, Houlihan said.

The market reductions come as the Assessor’s Office is implementing the 10/25 Ordinance, a measure simplifying assessment levels passed by the County Board last year. Under the ordinance, the assessment level of residential properties is 10 percent of market value; for industrial and commercial properties, it is 25 percent of market value.

It’s unclear what the impact of the assessment changes will be on actual tax bills, because governmental units may decide to raise tax rates to make up for lower assessed values.

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