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VOL. 37 | NO. 17 | Friday, April 26, 2013

Reappraisal confirms East Nashville’s appeal

By Bill Lewis

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Residential property value change for Davidson County during the last four years. Breakdowns are by Metro Council district.

Barbara and Mark Sherrell were prepared for the worst when they sold their home in Antioch, a Nashville suburb that experienced some of the steepest declines in property values during the city’s recently completed reappraisal.

After all, they held 12 showings without a single offer when they tried to sell their house last summer. The house was competing with foreclosures and unsold new homes built by overeager developers. Property values declined more than 9 percent in parts of Antioch between Nashville’s 2009 reappraisal and this year.

The 2013 reappraisal shows values have declined by more than 6 percent in the neighborhoods around the Sherrells’ house. Across the city, home values, rocked by the twin blows of the Grand Recession and the collapse of the housing market, were down an average of 1 percent.

In the hardest-hit neighborhoods north of downtown, values declined an average of 13.47 percent. But in the city’s most popular neighborhoods, values went up. Home values climbed more than 14 percent in parts of East Nashville, the largest increase in any neighborhood.

In Antioch, the Sherrells were braced for disappointment when they put their home on the market during the first quarter of this year. Instead, they were pleasantly surprised.

“We were shocked and excited,” Barbara Sherrell says.

East Nashville’s Council District 6 led all of Metro in the 2013 Metro reappraisal with values rising 14.32 percent. New businesses, restaurants and shopping have helped attract younger buyers.

-- Photo: Lyle Graves | Nashville Ledger

A day after putting their home on the market, they had shown it twice and had a buyer lined up. Even in a neighborhood with declining values, homes that are in good condition and priced to sell are attracting buyers, she says.

“Bingo. It’s been hot,” she adds of the housing market. “That’s the best way to describe it.”

What’s hot, what’s cold

Indeed, home values in parts of Nashville can be described as hot. And cold, based on the new reappraisal.

They were coldest in many of the city’s suburbs and warmer in neighborhoods west and south of downtown – along West End Avenue and I-40 toward Bellevue and along I-65 South and Hillsboro Road through Hillsboro Village, Green Hills and Brentwood.

Values were hottest in neighborhoods closer to the city’s core, including the Gulch, downtown, Belmont-12 South and parts of East Nashville.

“Property values reflect people’s lifestyle and where they want to live,” says Chad Wohlers, a Realtor with Village Real Estate. “People want to live in the city. They want to live, work and play in the same area. People are done with the commute. They want a short drive or to ride a bike.”

Rooker: ‘Widespread decline’

How reappraisals work

The assessor’s office evaluates and estimates property values every four years based on sales data to restore fairness and equity as property values change over time but not uniformly throughout the county.

According to state law, the county cannot profit from the reappraisals and must adjust the property tax rate after appraisals to remain revenue neutral.

If a property owner is dissatisfied with the appraisal, a review may be requested. The informal process is April 15-May 17. To file a request online, go to
www.padctnwebpro.com to begin the process.

The formal appeals process to the Metropolitan Board of Equalization is May 20-June 21. The property owner must schedule an appeal with a hearing officer or the Board of Equalization. The officer will review the appeal and recommend action.

To see your property data information sheet or for more information on reappraisals and appeals processes, visit www.padctn or call 862-6080.

The reappraisal is bringing home owners mixed news. The good news for many is their property taxes probably will go down. The bad news is that their taxes will be lower because their property is worth less or has appreciated in value less than homes in hotter areas.

“This is the first time we’re going to see a widespread decline in property values,” says George Rooker Jr., Metro’s property assessor.

His office reviewed the value of the 238,000 individual properties in the city. That number includes 20,000 commercial and industrial properties, which went up in value an average of 15 percent. The rest are homes and farms.

Rooker says Nashville’s strong economy explains the increase in the value of commercial property, a category that includes apartments that are popular with young professionals relocating to the city for work.

“We’ve been recognized nationally as one of the hottest cities in the county,” Rooker says. “We’re one of the top two or three cities in the country as far as rent increases for apartments.”

Commercial property values rose the most – 32.25 percent – in Green Hills. The smallest increase was 4.23 percent in Goodlettsville. Commercial values rose in every Metro Council district, according to Rooker’s office.

Draw of urban neighborhoods

Metro’s last reappraisal was in 2009. Since then, home prices have declined in many neighborhoods, which is one of the factors the city considers when appraising the tax value of homes in the area. Rooker’s office also considers each home’s exterior condition.

“Value is what a willing buyer would pay a willing seller,” says Rooker.

Those values have been especially strong in the city’s urban neighborhoods like Edgefield and Lockeland Springs on the east side and 12 South, Hillsboro Village, Green Hills and Sylvan Park on the west side. Condo values in the Gulch have rebounded nicely from the recession.

Values also are climbing in emerging neighborhoods like Sylvan Heights, next door to Sylvan Park, the Nations, a neighborhood north of I-40 and Charlotte Pike between 46th and 51st avenues, Salemtown, north of Bicentennial Mall, and neighborhoods west of Gallatin Road in East Nashville.

In Salemtown, a consortium of developers – MiKen Development, Aerial Development and H.R. Properties – has plans for 24 single-family homes in an area along Rosa Parks Boulevard. The houses will be 1,450 to 1,750 square feet. Prices will range from $249,000 to $279,000.

Also in the neighborhood, Atlanta-based developer SWH Residential Partners has begun a 282-unit $40 million apartment building called The Flats at Werthan Mills. Other infill developments are also under way in the neighborhood.

Gallatin Road and the Nations

On the east side, affordable prices are attracting buyers to the overlooked neighborhoods along Gallatin Road. They are also being attracted by amenities including some of Nashville’s most popular restaurants. Holland House Bar & Refuge, The Pharmacy Burger Parlor and Beer Garden and Mas Tacos all are located on the west side of Gallatin Road.

Tommi Stephenson, who owned a house on Sharpe Avenue for several years before deciding to sell it, has high hopes for the area along Gallatin Road. She compares it to another emerging neighborhood.

“I get the feeling this area is going to be the next Nations,” she says.

Property values are increasing dramatically in the Nations, also known as Historic West Town.

“It’s unbelievable,” says Alicia Griffith, a Realtor with the Wilson Group who lives in the Nations. “The values have steadily increased $10,000 per year.”

For example, two clients who bought their homes in the $170,000 range in 2010 are listing them for sale at $209,000 and $219,000.

“We’ll get it. They’ll make $30,000 to $40,000 in three years,” Griffith says.

Values in the neighborhood have been bolstered by the arrival of popular dining and entertainment destinations. Nearby, Nashville West provides many of the same big-box shopping opportunities found in areas such as Cool Springs and Rivergate.

“Progressive young people are loving the Nations, loving being close to the city and loving the price range,” says Village Real Estate Realtor John Brittle.

“The market in the central city has done better than the outer ring of the county,” says Rooker. “People are coming back to the city.”

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