By Tia Lynn Lecorchick

Morgan County property values are slowly creeping upward, according to Chuck Anglin, chief appraiser for the county. Anglin presented a slide show depicting the real estate history of the last six years to the Morgan County Tax Assessors on June 17. Anglin reported that in 2009, the total residential values of Morgan County peaked at $1.2 billion. Those cumulative values hit its lowest in 2012 at $817 million, and are now climbing upward once again, currently totaling $983 million. Anglin also reported that the values for agricultural properties are on the rise as well. In 2009, the overall values of agricultural properties in Morgan County was $542 million. It dropped to $188 million in 2012, and has currently increased to $213 million for 2014.

County Manager Michael Lamar was pleased with Anglin’s report. “If you were to compare Morgan County globally, our values went down like everybody else’s, but our rebounding has gone up more quickly because of our policy decisions on reevaluations,” said Lamar of how the tax assessors have worked to recover property values. Anglin outlined the overall real estate market from 2009 to 2014 to show how Morgan County has been specifically impacted. “A lot of people don’t understand how this has affected Morgan County,” said Anglin. “I am hoping this presentation will help clarify things a little more.” In Morgan County, 2009 yielded 259 fair market value sales. That number drastically decreased in the following years, hitting an all-time low of just 87 fair market sales in 2013. Anglin pointed out that this year, the county is back up to 182 fair market sales. During the same years, as the rate of fair market sales decreased, the rate of foreclosures increased.

In 2009, the number of foreclosures was 62. That number spiked to an all-time high in 2011, with 260 foreclosures, dropping back down this year to just 59 foreclosures. “We are beginning to rebound,” said Anglin. According to Anglin, in the last five years, property values decreased over all, but specific neighborhoods throughout the county experienced varying levels of value fluctuations. Over 800 properties were evaluated to estimate the overall real estate trends throughout the county. Some neighborhoods experienced severe reductions in property values and others experienced increased in property values.

“It all depends on a number of different factors: location, or the age and size of a home, for example,” said Anglin. “I think this is a good report to help people understand how all of this works,” said Lamar. “It is better to have real information rather then just mere speculation.” “Morgan County has been through a tough time these past few years,” said Ron Zay, chairman of the Tax Assessors. “But the good news is moving forward, we are starting to rebound.”