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Home values stay flat in greater Bel Air, Fallston

Credit and Debt

The values of homes in the greater Bel Air area have stayed fairly steady since 2011, falling behind some substantial increases in other Maryland metropolitan jurisdictions, according to the latest round of property tax assessments.

Properties around Bel Air, including much of Fallston, Forest Hill and Churchville, dropped in value by an average of 0.5 percent. The state average is a 1.3 percent increase.

Harford's commercial properties did increase in value by 12.9 percent.

Roughly a third of the county's residential, commercial and industrial properties are assessed annually, meaning an individual property goes three years between assessments.

Nancy Schmidbauer, assessments supervisor for Harford County, called it "a very small average increase in the county."

The total average values, residential and commercial properties together, increased by about 1.5 percent.

"We're pretty stagnant. Some neighborhoods went up, some hardly went up at all," Schmidbauer said, adding there will be pockets where the demand was greater.

"Generally, it's pretty flat," she said.

The flat values could mean the recession is not having as much of an impact on the county's housing market.

"We're starting to see that little bit of positive uptick. This is 2014, so we're out of the dark days and we're starting to see a little more appreciation, which is good for everybody," she said.

Schmidbauer was not especially surprised by the results of this year's assessments, which were released Friday.

"We expected it because the last assessment group we started to see a little bit less of a dramatic drop in values. They started to taper off," she said.

The previous round of assessments included properties in northern Harford and the Havre de Grace area, which dropped by an average of 7 percent.

"If they tapered off in 2013, maybe they're going to start climbing out of the hole we're in, and we did see that," Schmidbauer said. "This is after three years, so a lot has changed, thank goodness."

Home values in Baltimore City increased by 4.4 percent over the same time period, while Baltimore County fell by 2.9 percent. Howard County grew by 8 percent.

Schmidbauer said she is mostly seeing interest in the status of the Homestead Tax Credit. She explained the deadline for the tax credit was supposed to be last year, but was then extended one more year by the state's General Assembly.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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