Paul Welcome doesn’t have a crystal ball, but his estimates for the decline in value on residential and commercial properties last November proved to be fairly accurate. At the end of last year, Welcome told county officials he estimated the appraised value of homes in Johnson County would be down between 2 and 6 percent.
His report shows residential values dropped 2.49 percent county wide.
Valuations for 2010 hit mailboxes on March 1 and appeals are due March 31.
Gardner’s property values overall decreased by 1.41 percent.
The mean appraised value for a single family home in Gardner is $158,782 this year, about 2.45 percent less than the values in 2009.
That year, the mean family home in Gardner appraised for $162,771. That’s a slightly larger decrease than what occurred countywide. Countywide, properties lost about 1.04 percent of their appraised value.
The average sales price in Gardner also declined last year by slightly less than 1 percent. In 2008, the average sales price was $170,788. One year later, the average sales price for new and existing homes in the city dropped to $169,128.
Residential values dropped for the first time countywide in 2008, but new construction has steadily decreased since 2005. The number of new permits issued countywide decreased precipitously in 2009.
From 1990 to 2005, between 3,000 and 4,500 homes were built each year, according to the report, but fewer than 700 new single homes were built in Johnson County last year.
Welcome said once the construction season moves into high gear he’ll have a better idea whether values have hit bottom.
“I think the next six months, obviously, we’ll kind of know where we’re at,” Welcome said. “I don’t know if anyone knows where we’re out yet, whether we have bottomed out or not. The main thing is, we’ve got to have jobs coming in and people coming in.”
Construction on the intermodal project will be a key indicator that demand for property and therefore prices are likely to increase, Welcome said.
“The intermodal – is it going to come? If it is, when are they going to start moving dirt?” Welcome said. “We have to create jobs here that will then create demand.”
Project officials from BNSF railroad and from the Allen Group, a developer, anticipated starting building this spring; however, that plan was predicated on a $50 million federal stimulus grant that didn’t pan out. Railroad officials now say the project is on hold indefinitely until economic conditions improve.
Right now, Edgerton City Administrator David Dillner said he estimates construction will start on the proposed intermodal within the next year to 18 months; however, the project agreements between the city of Edgerton, the Allen Group and BNSF still have yet to be signed.
Dillner intimated that BNSF and Allen Group officials have signed the annexation and financing contracts, but the city of Edgerton’s legal team is still examining them.