Deeds and WeedsMarch 24, 2009

Silver Lining Dept.

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Here's one upside to the decline in home values: Residents of Beaufort County, S.C., near Hilton Head, will be getting their homes reassessed for tax purposes soon.

As an article in the Hilton Head Island Packet reports: "Developers of some golf course communities in southern Beaufort County have been unloading lots at fire-sale prices, driving down the tax values of neighboring properties, [county assessor Ed Hughes] said. Lots on lagoons and golf courses that had values in 2004 of '$300,000, $350,000, $275,000 ... we're seeing sales today under $100,000,' Hughes said."

Some things never change, of course. The article continues: "However the reassessment shakes out, Hughes said he is confident residents will come out in droves to challenge their new tax values, which will be mailed out around Aug. 1. Given people's sensitivity to paying more taxes given the tough economy, Hughes said, 'We expect a 50 percent increase (over the last reassessment in 2004) or 18,000 appeals.' "

-- P.F.