Home, condo, and small apartment building owners in the North Side neighborhoods of Gold Coast, Lincoln Park, Old Town, River North, and Streeterville should brace themselves for hefty property tax increases next year.
27-Sep-21 – When Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi released assessments of residential and commercial properties in North Chicago Township recently, he noted that the Near North Side – bounded by Fullerton Avenue on the north, Lake Shore Drive on the east, and the Chicago River on the south and west – posted “surprisingly robust” real estate values.
In 2020, median sale prices of single-family homes in North Chicago Township were about $1.1 million, while median condominium prices hit $320,000, the assessor reported. In 2021, most Near North Side single-family homes range in market value from $920,000 to $1.59 million. Condo values range from $270,000 to $420,000.
Many North Side apartment building owners are planning hefty rent increases next year to pay the expected sharply higher 2021 tax bills.
Kaegi said the reassessment process is reducing the property tax burden on residential taxpayers and placing more of it on owners of high-rise apartments, office buildings, and other commercial properties.
A spot survey by The Home Front revealed that statement is far from true. The following examples show hefty residential assessment increases to match the skyrocketing commercial assessment hikes:
• Old Town. The 2021 estimated fair market value on a historic red brick six-flat near Crilly Court rose a whopping 55.5 percent to $1,560,000 from $1,002,980 in 2020. The assessed value jumped to $156,000 from $100,298. The 2020 tax bill was $25,331.
• Lincoln Park. The 2021 estimated fair market value on a vintage red brick four-flat rose 38 percent to $1,570,000 from $1,137,100 in 2020, according to the assessor. The assessed value jumped to $157,001 from $113,710. The owner paid a 2020 tax bill of $21,652.
The building is near the CTA Blue Line. The assessed value jumped to $80,000 from $57,421. The 2020 tax bill was $12,144.
• Avondale. The fair market value of a Victorian graystone three-flat in this neighborhood just north of Logan Square skyrocketed 66.4 percent to $630,000 from $378,460. The assessed value rose to $63,000 from $37,846. The owner paid a 2020 tax bill of $7,767.
The owner of a yellow brick three-flat on the northern border of Avondale saw his fair market value jump 43.1 percent to $450,000 from $314,440. The assessed value rose to $45,000 from $31,444. The 2020 tax bill was $6,340.
Hot North Side areas such as Avondale, Lincoln Park, Logan Square, and Old Town are not the only neighborhoods being whacked with sharply higher 2021 reassessments. Here are other examples:
• Old Irving Park. The assessor reported that the fair market value of a vintage red brick six-flat in the neighborhood rose 46.3 percent to $800,000 from $546,560 in 2020. The assessed value rose to $80,000 from $54,656. The 2020 tax bill was $12,224.
• West Rogers Park. The fair market value of a two-bedroom, one-bath garden-level condominium in a walk-up building skyrocketed 61.4 percent to $130,000 from $80,520. The assessed value rose to $13,000 from $8,052. The owner paid a 2020 tax bill of $1,102.
• North Lincoln Square. The fair market value of a yellow brick four-flat skyrocketed 63.2 percent to $560,000 from $343,080 in 2020. The assessed value rose to $56,000 from $34,308. The owner paid a 2020 tax bill of $7,642.
The assessor’s lofty market value increases translate into sharply higher assessed values. That could spark some shocking real estate tax hikes when the second installment bills arrive in late 2022, analysts say.
Time to appeal over-assessment is now
The property tax bill is determined by four factors: assessment, equalization factor or multiplier, tax rate, and exemptions, according to Michael Griffin, a Chicago real estate tax appeal attorney.
However, predicting a hefty property tax increase when the second installment of the 2021 bill arrives in late 2022 really centers on two wild cards – the tax rate and the state equalization factor, which can’t be challenged by taxpayers.
The equalization factor (or multiplier) is established each year for Cook County to bring property tax assessments in line with other parts of Illinois. The factor is determined by the Illinois Department of Revenue.
For example, homeowners who read their 2020 tax bills will see the continued increased spending for schools and police, firefighter, and teacher pensions. Last week, Mayor Lori Lightfoot proposed property tax increases in the new budget.
Property owners who think they are over-assessed should appeal now, Griffin advises. If the assessment increases are not appealed, the hikes will take effect on the 2021 tax bill. A homeowner cannot fight the tax bill. It is too late to appeal when the bill arrives.
Contact the Cook County Assessor’s Office to find comparable properties or start the appeal process. The assessor’s deadline for filing an appeal in North Chicago Township is October 19.
A taxpayer can file with the Cook County Board of Review and later with the Illinois Property Tax Appeals Board. Or call Michael Griffin, an expert tax assessment lawyer.