County appraiser: Positive news…finally!

report cover pageAfter several years of presenting disappointing news and negative percentages in his reappraisal report, Johnson County Appraiser Paul Welcome now doesn’t mind traveling around the county spreading the news to city councils and chambers of commerce that the local market value for the county final is positive.

“We’re definitely going in the right direction,” Welcome said Thursday, March 21. “We’re on an upswing. I would say the low was probably 2009 and if you start looking at all the different products that we have as far as office, retail, apartments and everything, 2009 seems to be the low point.

“We built 651 homes that year and last year we built 1200-plus homes. So we’re starting to see the recovery and the recovery usually comes in this way. You start with apartments, second is industrial, third is office, and fourth is retail.”

market value compareWelcome said that for Johnson County, apartment construction has come back strong and valuations rose 3.22 percent compared to last year.

More than 1.4 million square feet in industrial construction took place in 2012. The Intermodal that’s being constructed between Edgerton and Gardner and is expected to be 7 million square feet. Compared to 2012, industrial valuations have increased 5.55 percent.

“The office construction (up 3.2 percent from last year) seems to be the one that hasn’t come back strong, yet,” Welcome said. “And if you think about the retail, a lot of our larger developments laid idle for 3 to 5 to 8 years: Corbin Park is now out of bankruptcy and coming on; Prairie Star is now being developed; the Mission Gateway is going to start being developed this year; you have Wal-Mart building out at K-7 and Johnson Drive; you have IKEA moving in and tearing down the old Merriam South Town Center with a brand new IKEA store coming in I think in 2015, but they are going to start construction in 2013-14.

“So if you look at it, there is a lot of positive news there. There are some big developments out there; we have Ativa building a brand new office building in our particular area, so we have a lot of positive things rolling through right now.”

In regards to the residential numbers, Welcome said the revaluations depended upon three things: location, location, location. Overall, the valuations in Johnson County increased 1.39 percent from 2012, home construction has increased and the foreclosure rate has dropped.

“Basically, with home values, 44 went down and 47 went up or visa versa, so 7 or 8 percent stayed the same and the other was half-and-half,” he

Drawing of the BNSF Intermodal Logistics Complex between Edgerton and Gardner.

Drawing of the BNSF Intermodal Logistics Complex between Edgerton and Gardner.

said. “But it all is dependent on the location. At the low point we built 650 homes and this past year it was over 1200 homes, so we are in an upward swing.”

And as industrial, office, and retail developments take place, that will spark a surge in home sales and valuations, Welcome said.

“With these businesses, they will start collecting employment and employment then brings people and that brings people who want to be in housing,” he said. “And we’re starting to see that. We’re having a lot of construction projects coming online and building all these big boxes and big developments.”

Overall, 2013 valuations for Johnson County is up 3.89 percent from 2012.

Welcome’s 2013 Revaluation Report can be seen online at http://appraiser.jocogov.org/publications/Revaluation%20Report/2013%20Revaluation%20Report.pdf

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