Home property values down again but real estate agents say don't worry

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By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron

PHOENIX - Property values in Maricopa County are dropping 15, 20, even 40 percent.

Nevertheless local real estate agents say you should ignore the numbers and get on with your life.

It can be scary to hear that the value of your house has gone down, especially if it is on the market. Real estate agents say: Don't sweat it.

Michael Sheflin just got the county's assessment of what his home is worth and says this year, the value on all three of his properties are down. “The duplex…ouch! Oh there's just no way, right now. One’s 10 percent, this one's like 25 percent, and that one's probably around 20 percent.”

Sheflin owns two rental homes in addition to his own and the valuations do not really matter to him. Why? He says, “Because I’m not selling and we're in a strange economic environment.”

Residential property values in Maricopa County have fallen for the third straight year.

In 2009, values were down more than 15 percent. The year before residents saw a 23 percent drop.    

Still real estate agents advise not to worry, even if your house is on the market.

Brad Brauer explains, “Every year when these things come out, we all forget what it means. So I get that phone call every January, February going ‘Oh my gosh’ it's not worthless.’ No, that's not what it is.”

Brauer assures the property valuation does not affect the home's resale price. It is only used to determine property taxes. He explains, “It has nothing to do with what you're going to sell your house for, it's not how we appraise houses, it's not how we make prices for to put properties on the market.”

Usually when property values go down so should the taxes. It is likely that will not happen because of the budget shortfalls many essential services are facing.