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Douglas on way to $4 billion value

Kurt Hildebrand
The Record-Courier

STATELINE, Nev. — Douglas County is well on its way to $4 billion assessed valuation, after hitting $3.8 billion in 2021.

“I have no words, it’s insane,” Assessor Trent Tholen told members of the Board of Equalization on Wednesday. “Our markets are going crazy and we’re doing our best to keep up.”

Homes in Eagle Ridge overlook Carson Valley on Thursday.
Provided

For the first time in at least a third of a century, no one filed an appeal of their valuation.



Tholen said the office sent out four forms, but none were returned.

Former Assessor Doug Sonneman, Tholen’s predecessor, said he hasn’t seen a meeting without appeals in his time in the office.



“When I started in 1988, appeals were two full days and spilled over into day three,” he said. “At the end it was around a half dozen or so. Never zero.”

Nevada bases its property tax on the value of property, which is determined by the assessor.

Assessors determine value by looking at a variety of factors, including depreciation on older homes, and surrounding values.

While the market plays into the assessment, that lags a year under state law. In Nevada, property the assessed valuation is 35% of the taxable valuation. A home that is determined to be worth $500,000 has an assessed valuation of $175,000, which is the amount the property tax is based on.

The assessor doesn’t determine how much tax a property owner pays but does contribute that value to the calculation done by the clerk-treasurer depending on where the property is located.

He said that Nevada’s assessments are based on replacement value instead of market value.

Locations like the Gardnerville Ranchos have several overlapping districts, while Johnson Lane doesn’t have as many.

Even though median prices shot up 16% in East Fork Township, property taxes won’t do the same because state law caps in increase in assessed valuation for owner occupied homes at 3% a year. The law was enacted when the home values were booming early this century to prevent people from being taxed out of their homes. When the Great Recession arrived 15 years ago, home values plummeted and didn’t recover for several years.

The housing market went into hyperdrive last year and no end is in sight.

While it’s pretty typical to see home sales of $1 million or more at Lake Tahoe, last year 106 sales in East Fork Township topped the $1 million mark. Much of that was from the development at Clear Creek. Lake Tahoe saw 118 sales hitting the $1 million mark.

Tholen said the county has had 379 new parcels created just since the beginning of the year and most of those are residential.

“To see 379 come up in the last month or so, is quite a shift,” he said. “I don’t think we had that many all of last year.”

The Board of Equalization is appointed by Douglas County commissioners and hears appeals of property values.

Should the board find there is a legitimate issue, it would lower the valuation for the property owner and those in the surrounding neighborhood.

A property can be re-assessed at any time, especially if there are improvements, but Tholen said his office tries to be conservative.

“We might see an area where the value has increased 30-40 percent,” he said. “That’s a lot even for us to swallow.”


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