In Howard County, where the eastern section was reassessed, older condos and homes restricted to residents 55 and older saw the largest decreases, said Renee Mierczak, the local supervisor of assessments.

Condos were also hard hit in Anne Arundel County, said Joseph Glorioso, supervisor of assessments there. Average condo values dropped about 22 percent, compared with roughly 17 percent among townhouses and about 14 percent for single-family homes, he said. The southern part of the county was reassessed, reaching as far north as Annapolis and Crofton.

"It's very rare that anything rose," Glorioso said.

More than 90 percent of homes lost value in reassessed portions of Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll and Howard counties, according to the assessments agency. But 40 percent of the homes reassessed in Baltimore city and 34 percent in Harford County did not, assessors said. Those values were not increasing so much as holding the line.

Harford got a lift from the nationwide military base realignment that sent thousands of jobs to Aberdeen Proving Ground over the past several years. The average assessment in the county fell a little more than 10 percent.

Harford County had the state's biggest increase in commercial values — 9 percent. The commercial tax base swelled over the past three years as developers built office parks near the Army base and apartments filled with new workers, increasing their value.

"There's a lot of activity," said Nancy Schmidbauer, supervisor of assessments in Harford County.

Commercial values fell in much of the state but were flat in Baltimore. Scott Basik, a Baltimore attorney who specializes in commercial assessment appeals, said some properties are holding their value but many others are declining — it depends on how occupied the buildings are. Commercial properties' assessments are influenced by the amount of income they produce.

Basik said he's seeing especially big declines in the downtown area, which won't be reassessed until next year. But that doesn't mean appeals must wait.

Property owners — commercial or residential — can appeal their assessment in any year. The deadline for properties that haven't just been reassessed is Jan. 3; owners of newly revalued properties have until Feb. 10 to appeal.

"There could be almost as many out-of-cycle appeals … as for the areas being reassessed," Basik said.

jhopkins@baltsun.com

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