Annual Milwaukee property re-evaluations show citywide increases, property owners bracing for impact

NOW: Annual Milwaukee property re-evaluations show citywide increases, property owners bracing for impact

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee property owners may be in for some sticker shock this week when they open their new property assessments from the city.

Milwaukee's annual re-evaluations went out this week, and property values went up citywide by 17.77%. But the city assessor cautions it does not automatically equate to higher taxes.

The value of residential and commercial properties increased in every single aldermanic district. But it's not yet known if that will translate to higher property taxes because the city budget and tax levy have not yet been set. But property owners are bracing for higher bills.

Homeowner Gregory Adams said he just got his assessment in the mail. "My wife looked at it, she told me it was going up."

The highest increase in the city was in the Seventh Aldermanic District, where values went up 31.86%. That includes the Sherman Park neighborhood where Adams has owned a home for more than 30 years.

He said his home is paid off so he only has to worry about possibly higher taxes, but that may not be the case for some other homeowners in the neighborhood. He said, "They may have a high mortgage, and then adding on a high tax may be a little strain for them."

But it's not a guarantee taxes will go up.

The assessor's office says the new assessed values reflect the market, they don't set the market. The assessments try to get the property closest to market value, which is why increases could be made even if no changes were made to the property.

And the overall housing market is one of several factors considered. Murray Hill homeowner Michelle Burton said, "It's very competitive. There are multiple offers right away on the table."

In 2019 the median home sale price in Milwaukee was $138,000. By 2021 it had increased to $172,000.

Burton is bracing for what she'll find when she opens her envelope, saying, "I was expecting after the purchase, after a year or so, it's definitely going to catch up to us. So we've been kind of budgeting for that."

It's the same in Bay View, where Mike Ranic owns two residential properties. He said, "The residentials went way up. I mean way up. I have two properties, one went way up, one went up half what the other one went up."

Ranic also owns Price Right Gifts on South Kinnickinnic. And assessment values are not just increasing on residential properties, they're also increasing on commercial properties, by an average of 6.68% citywide.

So if higher assessment values lead to higher property taxes, business owners like Ranic must choose to either raise prices on customers, or lose revenue. Ranic said, "That's a hit I'm going to take, that's a hit I'm going to take."

Property owners can appeal their assessment if the disagree with the valuation. Instructions on how to appeal are on the back of the assessments that were just mailed out.

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