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What Is The Formula For Assessing Land Values On Ct?

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justasking

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Connecticut
I had an occasion to look at the assessors map for the town I live in in Middlesex County. In doing so I noticed something I thought was odd, so thought I would ask here for an expert point of view.

The town assesses land here on no set value that I can figure out.

In other words, I assume that if I own a lot that is .5 acres and the man next door to me has a lot more than twice the size at 1.11 acres his land value would be at least double mine... but it is not. In fact, not even close.

I am assessed 120K per acre for my lot and he is assessed 52K for his and his is 2.4X mine. Both are regular yards, not forest and in fact his is way nicer than mine. Well manicured grass and all.

There is a house across the street from me. The lot is .15 acres. Barely large enough to hold the house sitting on it. He is assessed 324K per acre and the house next door to him owns 2.33 acres and is assessed at 27K per acre.

This goes on over and over no matter where you look. The larger the lot, the less you pay in terms of acreage value.

Is this common in rural Connecticut and if so, what is the criteria used to come up with these values.

Thanks!
 

BRCJR

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Virginia
Without viewing the properties it is more difficult to answer.

Say, you had 2.5 acres and only an acre was flat and usable for a residential dwelling to be installed upon. The remainder was very steep and wooded, for example.
Say, I had 1 acre across the street and it was flat and usable for a residential dwelling to be installed upon.

Both properties have a very similar function. They both will support a residential dwelling.
All else being the same, they could have similar values overall, maybe slight difference for size but, most likely not significant.
 

Michigan CG

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In appraising (and assessing) there is the principal of utility. In terms of land the most valuable land is that which meets the minimum that will support the improvements. In other words, if zoning requires 80 feet of frontage and 100 feet of depth then the most valuable land on a per acre basis, is that which meets the minimum requirements. As the parcels get bigger the value diminishes as the additional land is not needed to support the improvements.

In layman's terms, a pound of mice is more expensive than a pound of elephant.
 

justasking

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Connecticut
In appraising (and assessing) there is the principal of utility. In terms of land the most valuable land is that which meets the minimum that will support the improvements. In other words, if zoning requires 80 feet of frontage and 100 feet of depth then the most valuable land on a per acre basis, is that which meets the minimum requirements. As the parcels get bigger the value diminishes as the additional land is not needed to support the improvements.

Based on this, the tiny .15 acre lot across the street from me would have little value. It literally is just enough to hold the house. Close to the street (although mine is way closer) with no back yard and little side yard. Still, it is assessed at 324K per acre.

Even so, there has to be a set way to value land in a town. It cannot be at the whim of the assessor.
 

justasking

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Connecticut
Say, you had 2.5 acres and only an acre was flat and usable for a residential dwelling to be installed upon. The remainder was very steep and wooded, for example.

I gave you the example of mine and my neighbor. His 2+ acres are flat, clear of all trees, fully planted with lush grass, with a slight slope. He can fit a second home on his property. Still he pays way less per acre than I do.

Asked the assessor to explain this (new as of this year) and she did not reply to two emails.
 
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Howard Klahr

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Oct 4, 2004
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Florida
The larger the lot, the less you pay in terms of acreage value.
The long and short of it is yes and is based on the economic principle of marginal utility.

Obviously there is more to it as it relates to specific situations/properties but that is the gist of it
 

Mr Rex

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North Carolina
Most assessors value a "home site" at a certain value, then all the other land has diminishing value as it gets larger.
 

A K

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Jul 31, 2013
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Certified Residential Appraiser
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Maryland
Just don't pay attention to assessed values. They are usually wrong.
 

CindyR

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Oct 26, 2003
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Certified Residential Appraiser
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Arizona
To the original poster, do not try to understand the value as a $$ per acre. $ per acre has little relevance to a developed residential lot. These are priced and sold and valued at a cost per lot. An average lot will likely have a medium value. A lot that is twice as large will not cost twice as much if it is still a single lot if it can not be subdivided and sold as 2 lots. A larger lot might cost more than a smaller lot but maybe not. Sometimes a larger lot is less valuable because it has inferior access or views or utility. Sometimes people don't want the expense of maintaining the larger lot and would actually pay more for a smaller lot. But in any case trying to calculate the value on a $$ per acre method will never work.
 

justasking

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Connecticut
Since no one has given me any kind of industry formula or clear method used to determine a lots value over another it would seem there is ample room for "error" on the part of the assessor in that two people looking at the same lot will come up with two entirely different valuations, correct?

When I purchase my current home two years ago the town just had a reval done the same month. I was assessed for around 285K. I only paid $225K for the home, which was $10K less than the asking price. I fought the assessment and won for the $225K.

Looking at the "field card" today, I see they altered the price (down) for the home AND for the land. How can they lower the price for the land if that did not change. It was the home they had incorrectly listed for living space (by over 1400 sq ') and internal amenities, not the land. There was no question on land value at the time of the hearing.

This seems to confirm my assumption they have no clear formula for setting land value. Just adjust the value one way or the other to make it fit their needs.
 
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