Please see the following information from the Massachusetts Department of Revenue City and Town newsletter regarding the impact of COVID-19 on property values. (May 7, 2020)
Assessing at Fair Cash Value Assessors are required by Massachusetts law to assess all real and personal property at its fair cash value as of January 1 each year. Fair cash value correlates to fair market value, the price a willing buyer and a willing seller would settle upon in an open market transaction. Property assessments are retrospective in Massachusetts and based on the market conditions that occurred in the previous calendar year. The date of value for the assessments for the upcoming FY2021 reflects January 1, 2020. The LA3 Sales Analysis report demonstrates that assessments are at or near the statutory standard of fair market value and that there are not significant variances in assessment levels among the property classes. This is measured by an assessment to sales ratio with a median that must range between 90% to 110% for all classes. This requirement maintains an equitable approach to the allocation of the property tax burden. Finalizing assessments for FY2021, the assessor will review the real estate market in calendar year 2019. While it’s not possible to completely ignore the financial collapse of certain businesses due to the COVID19 crisis, the assessor is expected to minimize the influence of this new information by viewing through the eyes of market participant as of the assessment date, the beginning of the year. To learn more about property taxes, please view our Property Taxes webpage.
COVID19 Impact on Assessments: While the COVID19 crisis has severely impacted unemployment and certain businesses, it is unclear what effect it will have on the market for real estate. Because assessments are retrospective, any abatement due to overvaluation filed in FY2021 must be based on the analysis of market conditions that occurred in 2019 or an actual error in data and not on the COVID19 impact. It will be essential to continually communicate this message to taxpayers through information provided on community’s websites. Over this next year, assessors will be monitoring the real estate market and see its impact on sales and investment properties in preparation for assessments for FY2022.
The Assessor's Office maintains property characteristics on over 8,300 properties in their CAMA (Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal) system. The properties are inspected on a regular schedule to reflect changes, primarily as a result of building permits.
Assessors are responsible for administering Massachusetts property tax laws effectively and equitably, and for producing fair and accurate appraisals of all taxable property which includes real estate, motor vehicles, and personal property. In Wellesley, property taxes contribute over 85% of the Town's operating budget.