Property Values Up in Prince George’s, but Foreclosures Still High

Although a group of residential and commercial properties in Prince George's County had the highest increase in property values in Maryland, this home in Upper Marlboro and thousands of others listed on realtytrac.com are foreclosed homes for sale, or under a foreclosure listing for real estate, as of Jan. 8. (William J. Ford/The Washington Informer)
Although a group of residential and commercial properties in Prince George's County had the highest increase in property values in Maryland, this home in Upper Marlboro and thousands of others listed on realtytrac.com are foreclosed homes for sale, or under a foreclosure listing for real estate, as of Jan. 8. (William J. Ford/The Washington Informer)

Property values have risen in Prince George’s County, so says the Maryland tax assessment department.

The 2017 assessments on residential and commercial properties in the county increased by 13.5 percent, the largest increase in the state. However, the hike stems from those properties labeled “Group 2,” or a geographical area in each of the state’s 23 counties and Baltimore City.

The county’s properties in this section are mostly outside the Beltway that include homes and businesses in parts of Upper Marlboro, Bowie and Brandywine. Based on the assessments completed three years ago, residential properties rose by 14.2 percent and commercial parcels by 11.5 percent.

“We were one of the leaders in decreases back in 2011 and 2012, so we have seen that kind of roller coaster ride,” said Dan Puma, who supervises assessments in Prince George’s for the state’s Department of Assessments and Taxation office in Upper Marlboro. “We’ve had some ups and downs the last six to eight years in Prince George’s County.”

Homeowners could receive a tax credit based on certain criteria that include the property not being transferred to another owner, no change in zoning and vacated the home to complete major renovations. More information on the appraisal known as the Homestead Tax Credit, go to http://bit.ly/2jc38e7.

The state mailed out tax notices to property owners Dec. 28.

Nearly 40 years ago, the state passed a law to separate areas into three groups to assess tax parcels every three years.

Today, the state has nearly 300 field accessors to evaluate 2.3 million tax parcels.

In Prince George’s, properties in “Group 1” are close to the D.C. border in the southern and northern part of the county that include Fort Washington, Hyattsville and Oxon Hill. Those will be reassessed Jan. 1, 2019.

“Group 3” properties in the central portion of the county are in communities such as Capitol Heights, District Heights and Suitland and reassessed Jan. 1, 2018.

Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III said one main reason property values increased are thanks to new businesses such as MGM National Harbor that will bring millions of dollars in commercial tax revenue and nearly 4.000 permanent jobs.

“In my administration, we have pushed to make sure our commercial tax base gets stronger that increases the overall property values in the county,” Baker said Jan. 3 before a ceremony at the James Madison Memorial Building in Southeast to honor Anthony Brown to Congress.

Baker did admit the county faces one major housing concern: foreclosures.

According to RealtyTrac, a nationwide real estate firm that lists housing data, Maryland ranked fifth in the nation in November in foreclosure rates with one in every 976 units. The number of foreclosures actually decreased from the previous month of around 3,500 in October to more than 2,000.

Also in November, Prince George’s County ranked third in the state behind Baltimore City and Charles County.

To help abate foreclosures, the county’s Department of Housing and Community Development lists phone numbers and other resources for homeowners at http://bit.ly/2hULVE8.

There’s even a four-minute video from housing director Eric C. Brown talking about foreclosures and a link to the RealtyTrac website for additional information.

Baker said the best option to fight foreclosure rests with the federal government.

“The federal level is where the pressure’s going to be put on the banking communities and mortgage companies,” he said. “The federal leadership will work with the banks to actually give people the ability to renegotiate their mortgage payments, or take a lesser amount. We know Anthony Brown will help us with that.”

Brown said last week any proposal, even a moratorium, would be examined to eradicate foreclosures in the county.

Foreclosed, or distressed, properties aren’t analyzed in the statewide assessments because some may have a lesser value than others, Puma said.

“It wouldn’t be fair to cherry-pick the good ones,” he said. “The hope is that [the real estate market] is stabilizing now.”

About William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer 254 Articles
I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com