Portage Property Values Rise but Wages Stay the Same

After the latest property appraisal, many Portage County home owners saw their property values rise.

The Auditor’s office held informal meetings for residents to voice their concerns. Over 900 residents showed up. At one meeting, many people were turned away because of the crowd size. 

On Oct. 20, the Akron Beacon Journal reported on a Ravenna resident’s concerns about the property appraisals.

Between the City and Township of Ravenna, about 9,000 parcels of land were appraised. Of those, 56 percent increased in value, 23 decreased, and 21 percent stayed the same, wrote Steve Raffa in an email. Raffa works for Integrity Appraisal Services, which conducted the appraisals for the Auditor’s office.

“The great majority” of the parcels with no change were “small vacant lots,” explained Raffa. 

Raffa said appraisal data for the whole county is not public yet. However, many home owners in Aurora and Brimfield said their property values also went up. 

After the Appraisal: Higher Property Taxes, Stagnant Wages

Finance data puts the appraisal in context. When property taxes go up but wages stay the same, the economy can slow down. The appraisal may hurt Portage County’s economic growth.

Appraisal Economy Facts

Last year, the average Portage County yearly wage was $41,780. This is nearly $3,000 below the national average. In 2016, the Portage County average yearly wage was $39,834.

Plus, 15 percent of Portage County households are in poverty. The Ohio average is 14 percent. Of the Portage County residents living in poverty, 17 percent are families with kids.

Most people’s homes are their biggest expense. Their homes are also their biggest investment. When property values suddenly rise, this can throw off a middle class family’s whole budget.

When property values soar, people don’t want to move to Portage County. As people leave, our economy struggles. This means lost jobs and higher costs of living.

Next time there’s a property appraisal, we must plan for the future of Portage County. Lis Kenneth Regula built a career in statistics and data analysis. He wants to get to the bottom of why so many property values increased so dramatically. And he wants to conduct property appraisals with honesty, transparency, and consideration of working families.

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