Sunday, March 30, 2008

Appraiser Evaluates Whether 303 Homes Are Overpriced

By SHANNON BEHNKEN, The Tampa Tribune
Published: March 8, 2008

TAMPA - South St. Petersburg homeowners living in neighborhoods with homes sold at inflated prices may no longer have to pay higher property taxes because of those transactions.

The Pinellas County Property Appraiser's Office is combing through each of 303 sales, first detailed in a Tampa Tribune investigation, and will likely disqualify them as comparable sales used to determine the value of nearby homes, said Ron Anderson, deputy for appraisals

Full Story Here

The decision not to use those sales could have a significant impact on the low-income neighborhood, said Frank Gregoire, a private appraiser.

"It's about time," said Gregoire, who is running for the office of Pinellas County property appraiser. "But the damage has already been done since homeowners won't get their money back."

The real estate boom spurred numerous deals with unusual financing and inflated sales prices, and neighborhoods throughout the Tampa Bay area have been affected, Gregoire said. County property appraisers need to do a better job at weeding out these peculiar deals, he said.

"Recorded documents don't always illustrate what went on during a sale, as we've learned here."