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Henderson County's tax base increased by almost 18 percent over the past four years, the county tax assessor told county commissioners today.

 The overall property tax base rose to $13.5 billion, up $2 billion from the overall taxable value of $11.45 billion before the 2019 reappraisal. The new values are effective for property tax bills that go out in August.

Commissioners will take the new tax base into account when they set a tax rate for the budget year that starts on July 1. The county by law must publish a revenue-neutral rate but is not obligated to adopt it.

Tax Assessor Darlene Burgess presented the results of the quadrennial reappraisal to the Board of Commissioners on Wednesday morning. The county tax office appraised 68,000 parcels — 63 percent of them containing a home, building or some other improvement. Assessors visited 32,000 parcels, she said, reviewed 2,600 sales in 2018, logged building permits and constantly monitored the real estate market. The median home price was $271,000 — half sales were below that and half were above that. Homes under $400,000 are a sellers market, homes over $600,000 a buyers market and those priced in between represent a balanced market.

The building market also is hot, with a 32 percent increase in building permits from 2015 to this year.

Overall, residential value accounts for 76 percent of the total. 

"These amounts are preliminary and they should not be used for budget purposes," she said. "Real property values will be adjusted to account for appeals. The tax base is not final until the appraisal process is completed."

The tax base grew at even more eye-popping pace in some towns and tax districts. The cities' tax base grew by 20 percent on average. Hendersonville's tax base grew by 24.4 percent and its downtown taxing district spiked by 42 percent. Values in the Historic Seventh Avenue District jumped by 29.5 percent. Other increases were:

  • Laurel Park, 16 percent.
  • Saluda, 18.6 percent.
  • Fletcher, 21 percent.
  • Mills River, 19 percent.
  • Flat Rock, 11.7 percent.

Click here to read a Q&A on the 2019 reappraisal.

Commissioners praised the revaluation. Chairman Grady Hawkins said the tax office overcame the challenges posed by a new software system that supported the reassessment process. "Good job," he said.