The 2015 assessments for Wellesley properties have just been released by the town. Hard copies of the summary report are available at the Assessor's Office in Town Hall and at the Wellesley Free Library. The Wellesley Townsman also publishes a special report in January. You will receive your new assessment with your tax bill in late December. When you read your home assessment, there are a number of things to keep in mind beyond the facts that a low assessment is good for your tax bill and a high assessment is good for marketing purposes.
First, remember that the assessment is an opinion of value from the Assessor's Office. It is not an "appraisal" which is an opinion of value commissioned by a mortgage lender as part of a loan application. It is also not necessarily an estimate of market value, what your home is worth on the open market today, which is something with which we can provide you.
Second, your assessment might lag behind market value. Most simply, your assessment reflects the Town Assessor's opinion of value based on the previous years' sales (closings in calendar year ending 2013 for 2015 assessments) and the physical characteristics of your home as of the mid-year (closed building permits and inspections as of July 2014 for the 2015 assessment).
Third, most people in town should see their assessment and tax bill go up this year. The market value of almost all homes has increased with the improved real estate market. The tax rate is determined by town budget needs divided by the total value of all properties (we share the burden according to the value of our real estate). Since the values and the budget are both higher, the rate only increased slightly, from $11.54/thousand in 2014 to $11.56/thousand for 2015.
Finally, assessment is one of the factors buyers consider when determining what they think is the appropriate amount to pay for a house. When comparing sales prices to assessments across town (remember these are averages!) we see a reflection of the market forces. In the lower price ranges which were ferociously competitive and saw great increases in average prices, we saw buyers paying about 20% more than assessment. In the upper ranges where we saw healthy but much more modest competition, buyers paid about 9% more than assessed value.
Average Sales Price to Assessment Ratio 2014
Single Family Homes in Wellesley
So, remember your new assessment isn't just a tax bill, but also a sign of a healthy real estate market. Here's to continued growth in 2015!