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More tax relief for (most) Detroit property owners this year

A house for sale on the Detroit Land Bank's online auction site.
Detroit Land Bank Authority

Most Detroit homeowners should see more relief on their property tax assessments this year.

The city has worked to bring tax assessments more in line with real housing values in the past couple years.

Now city officials say more than 90% of homeowners should see further reductions this year.

Karen Johnson-Moore lives in northwest Detroit, an area that should see up to 15% reductions in most neighborhoods.

Johnson-Moore says this is good news for longtime homeowners who have worked hard to stabilize their neighborhoods through periods of abandonment and blight, as well as potential new neighbors.

“We’re the people that are in the trenches,” said Johnson-Moore. “This is the opportunity, again, to have a carrot to dangle in front of our community.”

But Mayor Mike Duggan says this trend won’t last long, as home prices head up and with no plans to change the city’s property tax rates, which are among the highest in the state.

“If you’re thinking about buying a house, I would say this is the year to do it,” Duggan said. “Because it’s very unlikely we’re going to see assessment reductions like this next year.”

Duggan says the city is actually collecting more in property taxes, as it has lowered over-inflated assessments in recent years.

There’s one exception to the current trend: the city’s downtown core and surrounding areas, where assessments are up slightly.

However, Detroit still has a massive property tax foreclosure crisis, in part because of tax delinquencies based on inflated assessments going back over the past several years. Around 62,000 properties will receive foreclosure notices this tax cycle, with around 40,000 of them believed to be occupied.

City officials says assessments should normalize as Detroit completes its first city-wide, property-by-property re-assessment in decades.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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