Apartment complexes lead valuation rise in Amherst

Letters to go out this week with new property values

  • Amherst Town Hall Gazette File Photo

Staff Writer
Thursday, October 05, 2017

AMHERST — With demand for apartments in Amherst soaring and monthly rents continuing to rise, property values for large apartment complexes will go up significantly this year.

Principal Assessor David Burgess said Sept. 26 that’s one of the findings from the town’s preliminary certification of all properties, a valuation process mandated by the state’s Department of Revenue to take place every three years.

The increase in the average value of all classes of residential properties is projected to go up just 7.8 percent. The average value of single-family homes would increase from $334,600 to $353,500, an $18,900, or 5.6 percent, rise.

A sampling of the skyrocketing values of apartment complexes includes:

♦ Rolling Green Apartments, at 422 Belchertown Road, which saw its assessment rise from $12.34 million to $15.2 million, a $2.86 million or 23.2 percent jump,

♦ Southpoint Apartments, 266 East Hadley Road, which went up from $8.7 million to $11.15 million, a $2.45 million, or 28.1 percent increase, and

♦ Puffton Village, 1040 North Pleasant St., which had its value rise from $19.73 million to $24.84 million, a $5.11 million, or 25.9 percent spike.

High-end single-family homes are also going up in value, Burgess said.

He points to a home in South Amherst that sold for $1.75 million, and several others also on the market for more than $1 million.

“But then again what people ask is one thing, what they get is another thing, so we’ll have to see what happens,” Burgess said.

During a brief presentation earlier this month, Burgess told the Select Board that a big trend he is seeing is more mixed-use buildings and apartment complexes.

“That is one of the reasons we’re seeing the values go up so much,” Burgess said.

This has been evident downtown, with the openings of Boltwood Place and Kendrick Place in recent years and the construction of One East Pleasant, all of which feature four levels of apartments and a ground floor with retail or office space. In addition, Presidential Apartments added 54 units in 2015.

The goal of the certification of properties is to equalize all values so they are as close to market value as possible. Burgess said the aim is to be at around 98 percent of value.

To derive the new values, Burgess explained, the sales of 126 single-family properties and 56 condominiums during 2016 were considered.

Apartment complexes are rarely are sold by developers, so Burgess said the town asked owners for information about all income and expenses prior to making its calculations.

“We react to the market the same way we do to single families and condominiums,” Burgess said.

Burgess said he couldn’t speculate on what the big increase in property values for apartments will mean for those who live there, though rents are likely to continue their upward trend.

A letter alerting all property owners is going out this week, giving them a few weeks to review the new valuations of their properties and ask questions. Then the assessors will ask the Department of Revenue to certify the property values, in advance of the tax classification hearing in November in which the Select Board will vote on the tax rate.

Projections show the tax rate may drop from $21.83 to $21.03 per $1,000 valuation, but the average tax bill will go up from $7,304 to $7,434, a $130, or 1.8 percent, change.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.