Wicomico sees spike in property assessments

Area 2 was the subject of this year’s reassessments by state officials.

Commercial property values in Wicomico County increased 21.7 percent, the highest in the state for the second year in a row, according to data for the 2020 tax year released this week by the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation.

The jump in commercial property values is attributed to the sales of several large property sales including a car dealership, hotel, apartment complexes and an assisted living facility, said Christine Duma, supervisor of assessments for Wicomico County. 

“The commercial market definitely is continuing to be strong,” she said.

Salisbury Mayor Jake Day said most of the large sales of commercial properties were within city limits.

“It’s another indicator of our resilience in this market,” he said.

Property tax assessment notices were mailed to property owners in the reassessed area on Friday, Dec. 27.

The latest assessments were based on an evaluation of sales that occurred over the last three years in the part of the county that stretches from Salisbury eastward to the Worcester County line. Parts of Salisbury as well as Parsonsburg, Pittsville and Willards were included, Duma said.

Residential properties in the same area increased by 6.3 percent. The increase for combined residential and commercial properties was 11.2 percent.

Neighboring Worcester County had an overall increase of 4.7 percent, while Somerset County property values rose by 1.2 percent.

The overall statewide increase was 8.9 percent, down slightly from the 9.1 percent increase last year, according to the Department of Assessments and Taxation.

In Maryland, there are more than 2 million property accounts which are split into three groups, each appraised once every three years.

The 2020 assessments for Group 2 properties were based on an evaluation of 73,106 sales that occurred within the group over the last three years. If the reassessment resulted in a property value being adjusted, any increase in value will be phased-in equally over the next three years, while any decrease in value will be fully implemented in the 2020 tax year.

For the 2020 reassessment, 86.4 percent of Group 2 residential properties saw an increase in property value.

“All 23 counties and Baltimore City experienced an increase in residential and commercial properties for the second consecutive year, which is a good indicator the market remains strong and growth is steady,” said Michael Higgs, director of Assessments and Taxation for the state. “As part of our Tax Credit Awareness Campaign, each reassessment notice includes information about the Homeowners’ and Homestead Tax Credits, which save Marylanders more than $260 million in taxes each year.”

The Homeowners’ Tax Credit provides relief for eligible homeowners by setting a limit on the amount of property taxes that are owed based on their income.

Residential property owners who complete a one- time application and meet certain eligibility requirements can also receive a Homestead Tax Credit, which limits their principal residence’s taxable assessment from increasing by more than a certain percentage each year regardless of their income level. Although statewide legislation caps the increase at no more than 10 percent per year, many local governments have capped property taxes at lower percentages.

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