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Finding Property Tax Relief In NY: Foreclosures & Declining Home Values

By timhoughten
Thursday, January 9, 2020

There’s a lot of hype in the media about how strong the real estate market is. Especially on Long Island. This has been used to levy even higher taxes on those buying and selling homes in New York. Even more so for those in Nassau County. 

What aren’t they telling you? What truths could actually help you lower your taxes and maybe even save your home?

Hiding The Real Trends

One big red flag that should catch everyone’s attention is the fact that Zillow stopped updating its data on homes with negative equity and those defaulting on mortgages and falling into foreclosure. They did this back in 2018 when those numbers began to rise again. Also, if you look at the data, it is taking closer to five months to sell a home in Nassau County on average. Clearly not a sign of a hot and in demand market for home buyers. 

Yet, Nassau County has used the hype of a hot real estate market and rising property prices to justify new countywide assessments at peak values. The result is many seeing their annual property tax bills up by 50%. They tried to seize the opportunity to lock in big revenues, despite the fact that the New York property market as a whole has already been slowing and falling. 

Here’s What’s Coming...

Just like the last Great Recession and housing crisis, the epicenter of this one appears to have started in Manhattan. Now it’s spreading out.

According to Zillow, Manhattan home values fell an average of over 6% in the past year. They are projected to fall even further through 2020. That’s an average loss of around $100,000 for homeowners there. In just one year.

One step further out is Brooklyn. Zillow predicts Brooklyn home values will fall by 1% this year. House prices are falling in Queens too. Suffolk County homes are expected to lose value this year. Nassau County may be lucky to stay flat. Though that is unlikely to happen as fear kicks in and homeowners realize how much money they are losing every day by not selling.

Foreclosures

Digging further into the numbers, we find that foreclosures have actually been increasing on Long Island. 

In Suffolk, the five counties with the most active new foreclosures saw 1 in every 317 to 1 in every 483 housing units in foreclosure in November 2019. Those numbers are even higher than many parts of America saw in the Great Recession of 2008. 

It’s even worse in Nassau County according to RealtyTrac. In the hardest hit cities, as many as 1 in every 290 housing units is in foreclosure. Pre-foreclosures and new foreclosure filings have risen almost 10% year over year. Foreclosure auctions have jumped by over 51%. The number of properties banks have taken back in foreclosure rocketed by over 98% in November.

The Good, Bad & Ugly

Watching the value of your home plummet may feel bad right now. If you stay another 15 years or more, it doesn’t really matter. That equity is likely to grow back. 

The good news is that in the meantime, falling home values mean you should be eligible to appeal your tax assessment and annual property tax bill. If you bought your home for $1M in 2018, and it falls to $800k or less by next year, you should also be able to get a nice discount on your property taxes. 

Of course, they are not just going to volunteer to lower your taxes. Let Property Tax Adjusters, Ltd. challenge your assessment and bill, help you start saving, and maybe even save your home from foreclosure too. 

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