Assessor of Property Marty Haynes told members of the City Council, "It's a hot real estate market right now."
He was answering questions about reappraisal notices that reflect significant value increases in a number of cases.
Assessor Haynes said, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was expected that realty sales would be down in 2020. However, he said in the city of Chattanooga there were 2,929 sales - compared to 2,827 the previous year.
The trend is continuing with already 841 sales in the city this year.
Mr. Haynes said in the city the median sales price in 2019 was $189,900. In 2020, it rose to $216,500. Currently, it is $217,500.
The average sale price went from $222,158 to $249,923. It is now $255,400.
Total real estate sales in the city went from $628 million in 2019 to $732 million last year. Already this year there have been $210 million in sales.
The assessor said the average appraised value in the city has gone from $141,900 in 2019 to $143,017 in 2020. It has now risen to $183,300.
Mr. Haynes said local governments will need to adjust their tax rates so they do not get a "windfall" from the mainly higher appraisals.
He said the value is still increasing as the inventory continues to drop.
He stated, "Property ownership is still the greatest way to build wealth n this country."
Asked by Councilman Isiah Hester if many of the new buyers are from out of state, he said, "I would say so, but our office does not track that." .
Assessor Haynes said Shelby County is moving to conducting reappraisals every two years instead of four. He said that is not expected to happen in Hamilton County until at least 2027. He said the assessor's office would need more staff and be ready to go in the spring of 2025.
Asked by Councilwoman Jenny Hill about some residents getting reappraisal notices much earlier than others, he said his small staff could not answer all the calls if they all went out at once. "It's customer service," he said.
When she asked if the deadline could be extended for those who get them last, he said the deadline remains the first of June when the County Board of Equalization begins meeting.
He said that five-member appeals board heard 175 cases four years ago, but is expected to get more this time.
Assessor Haynes said there is a new tool on the assessor's website allowing property owners to put in their address and see the recent sales that have occurred around them.