Will Sedgwick County homeowners see tax appraisals increase again? Here’s what to expect


Sixty percent of Sedgwick County homeowners will see higher tax appraisals when notices are mailed out March 1.

Despite the bad news for three in five residential property owners, it’s actually the lowest proportion of appraisal increases since 2018. Appraisals went up for 80% of homeowners in 2023 and 88% in 2022.

This year, the average median increase is 8%. Only 1% of the county’s 183,359 residential parcels declined in value. Tax appraisal increases are driven by sales of new and existing homes.

“We still have shortages of housing. The unbalance between supply and demand is there and it pushes up those prices,” County Appraiser Mark Clark told the County Commission on Wednesday.

Climbing valuations could lead to higher property taxes unless the County Commission lowers the mill levy. Even so, property owners will have a chance to appeal appraisals.

The median sale price for a home in Sedgwick County increased to $243,200 last year — up just over 8% from $225,000 in 2022. The first year the county’s median price point topped $200,000 was 2021.

The median price point for an existing house in 2023 was $223,000, compared to $382,770 for a new build. Home sales decreased by 16.8%, which Clark attributed to relatively high interest rates and high residential property prices.

“You have property owners that don’t want to give up a mortgage with a rate of 3.5 percent or less for a mortgage that is 6.5 percent or greater,” he said. “The bottom line is, some potential buyers are forgoing the purchase of a home and are waiting for lower rates. At the same time, some potential buyers are becoming acclimated to these rates and they are simply choosing to buy smaller homes.”

Under state law, appraisers must inspect each county property every six years and reassess property value annually in a uniform and equal manner.

If property owners don’t think the appraiser’s estimate reflects market value, they can appeal by filling out the back of their value notices and returning them to the Sedgwick County Appraiser’s Office within 30 days.

Appeal meetings will be conducted over the phone beginning on March 19, but Clark said property owners can request an in-person meeting if preferred.

Residential property accounts for about 62% of the total assessed value in Sedgwick County. Commercial property accounts for another 28%, with agricultural property making up less than 1% due to deeply discounted farmland tax rates. Sixty-seven percent of commercial parcels are increasing in value in 2024, while 64% of agriculture parcels are decreasing in value, Clark said.

Later this year, the county will set a budget based on the cost of providing government services, which determines the property tax rate, also called the mill levy. Property taxes can be calculated by multiplying the assessed value of a property by the mill levy.

Sedgwick County currently has the third-lowest mill levy in the state.

This article was republished here with the permission of: The Wichita Eagle