NEW CANAAN, Conn. -- Every property in New Canaan is close to having a new value as the town finishes its most recent reassessment.
The state mandates every community revalue its properties every five years; New Canaan's last revaluation was in 2008. The process aims to make the property taxes one pays more fair by using current fair market values to help determine those taxes. Fair market value is an estimate of what a property is worth in the market at a given point in time.
The new valuations are being determined by the company hired by the town and the assessor’s office and will be based on information gathered on every property by the company and town, as well as the concept of "like neighborhoods."
That concept takes similar properties in similar parts of town and groups them into a "neighborhood" and then gives them similar values based on sales of similar properties from the past year. For example, the town will look at all recently sold four-bedroom, three-bathroom, 3,000-square foot homes and take those sale prices to assign values to all other similar homes in similar parts of town, adjusting for individual differences, such as pool, larger garage and lot size.
As a result of this process, some properties will see a decrease in value, some will see no change and some can even be more valuable depending on recent market sales. For example. if your property was for some reason undervalued from the last revaluation due to home improvements not calculated last time or market changes, then your taxes could increase at a higher rate than the average.
The actual impact on your tax bill won't be known until the new grand list (the total of all property values in town) and the mill rates are known.
The new values will be mailed in December and January. They also will include instructions as to whom to call if you have questions and concerns or would like to discuss the value. Property owners will have a chance to meet with someone to discuss the assessment at an informal hearing. If there still a concern or issue after that hearing, one can file a petition with the Board of Assessment Appeals.