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There are currently more than 100 homes for sale in Bedford. A new townwide revaluation has significantly increased home assessments in town. (Kimberly Houghton/Correspondent)

Home assessments on the rise in Bedford

BEDFORD — Assessed property values are on the rise in Bedford as home prices continue to increase and inventory remains slim.

Some homeowners are experiencing a significant jump in their new assessment figures following a townwide revaluation for the first time in four years.

Taxpayers received valuation notices in the mail last week, with some homes being assessed at up to $100,000 more than their prior valuation numbers in 2013.

“Anyone who has bought or sold a home the past few years knows that prices for the most part are up and continuing so, and inventory is down, which can make it hard to find a home to relocate in town,” said Bill Ingalls, town assessor.

Revaluation updates are necessary to create fairness and accuracy among the real estate market, according to Ingalls, who stressed that property values have not increased overnight, but throughout the past four years of strong market activity.

After the revaluation update in 2013, the overall assessment-to-sale ratio for Bedford was 94.9 percent, Ingalls said. However, that ratio has since decreased to 84.4 percent, which prompted the new assessments.

Under state law, the town is required to update its property values every five years, with the goal of bringing home values up to 100 percent of market value.

“This is a necessary thing that we must do periodically,” said Ingalls, adding the consistent change in assessment ratios is a clear indicator that the market in Bedford has improved dramatically since the recession, improving between 2008 and 2012.

Vision Government Solutions conducted the revaluation of local homes in an effort to adjust to changes in the real estate market. In addition, the Bedford assessing department conducted its own ratio study for home sales from October 2016 to June 2017 and determined that single-family homes were assessed at an overall level of 83 percent of market value.

“As not all classes of property increase or decrease at the same rate, when a ratio becomes too low it can result in the over-assessment of some properties. This can also happen in times of depressed markets where the ratio becomes too high,” Ingalls explained in a video for local homeowners posted on the town website. “In either case, an adjustment becomes necessary, which is where we are now.”

Ingalls stressed that the town’s property tax rate will be adjusted to reflect the town’s newly increased property values. Although the new tax rate has not yet been determined, the existing tax rate is $22.37 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

“The tax rate should go down from the update, but exactly how much we won’t know until all town and school budgets are in,” he said, noting that that should take place by early October.

There are currently more than 100 homes for sale in Bedford.

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