I have been receiving numerous calls and emails regarding the impact of COVID-19 on our property values. “Are property values being reduced due to COVID-19?”

The short answer is, unfortunately no. We will be sending out our annual Change of Value Notices the first week in October and I need to put this rumor to rest. We were unable to host our Community Meetings this year due to COVID restrictions. This is where we discuss the market activity and what to expect with the 2020 values. We missed visiting with you all and hope to see you at our 2021 meetings.

Here are some facts that will dispel any notion that there is a decline in 2020 values in our area:

1. The values for 2020 are as of January 1, 2020, and area based on closed, arms-length transactions that occurred in 2019 and the first quarter of 2020.

2. The “Stay at Home” order by the governor was executed the third week in March. The effective date of our 2020 values predates COVID-19.

3. Change of Value Notices are going out late this year because we had to halt our physical inspections for approximately 4 weeks due to the “Stay at Home” order. By the time our revaluation inspections and sales analysis were complete, we were performing the new construction inspections and made a decision to send one set of notices in October this year. We will be back on schedule for June notices next year.

4. Sales have remained strong in Chelan & Douglas counties throughout the COVID pandemic, partially due to the historically low interest rates.

5. Sale prices have not only remained strong, but have continued to rise throughout the pandemic.

6. The countywide average increase in property value is approximately 8%. This means that some areas will see increases greater than 8% while other areas will be less.

7. When you look at your value, what you need to focus on is the TOTAL property value. The two components (Land and Improvements) may fluctuate year to year based on the bare land sales and market activity. If you appeal your value, you can only appeal the TOTAL property value.

8. All sales occurring in Chelan County, regardless of the transaction type (private sale, sale through a real estate agent, estate sale, bank sale, foreclosure, etc) are recorded on the Sales layer of the Chelan County GIS map. This may be viewed by the public at any time. It will show you the sale date, sale type and sale price. The website address is: https://maps.co.chelan.wa.us/GIS/

Find your property via your address, parcel number or name, and then click on the map layer for “sales”. The sales for 2018, 2019 and 2020 are available on this map. I believe in transparency, therefore all information and comparable sales used to determine your property value should be available to you.

9. How will this affect your 2021 property taxes? As a general rule of thumb (if nothing else changed), we use the county average (8%) as the top of the bell curve. This means that if your value change is LESS than the county average, your taxes typically will go down, whereas, if your value exceeds the county average, your taxes will likely increase.

10. Please remember that several bonds and levies passed during the February ballot measure. Depending on your taxing districts, these may make a difference in your overall tax bill. Voted-in tax increases could negate the general rule of thumb mentioned above.