Hot St. Charles County housing market leads to unprecedented property tax increases

Published: May. 2, 2023 at 10:27 PM CDT
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O’FALLON, Mo. (KMOV) - A hot housing market is leading to higher property taxes for homeowners in St. Charles County.

The Crowell family has lived in their O’Fallon home for over a decade. Husband and wife, George and Chris, are retired and say they recently received a notice from the County Assessor’s office that said they would likely owe $1,000 more in property taxes this year.

It’s not because tax rates have increased but because their home’s value has increased by almost $100,000 in the two years since their home was last assessed. It’s something George Crowell said is a blessing and a curse.

“I was shocked that it was up so much,” Crowell said. “I’m just aggravated that you can get a letter in the mail that your taxes can go up 25%, and there’s really nothing you can do about it.”

Crowell said he is prepared to absorb the increased cost this year, but he worried about continued increases year over year for others, especially for seniors like him on fixed incomes.

Home valuations in St. Charles have increased about 19% over the last two years, according to the St. Charles County Association of Realtors. This comes amid a nationwide housing shortage, where demand is outpacing supply.

“Homeowners do have opportunities to potentially decrease their property tax bills,” President Becky Klein said in a statement to News 4. “You can challenge your assessed value, attend the meetings of your taxing districts- schools, ambulance, fire, etc.- and have your voice heard to roll back some of these levies and increases.

O’Fallon Realtor Laurie Duepner said she’s never seen tax increases this large. She said that the increases are not currently affecting their ability to sell homes, but she said many homeowners have called with similar stories of tax estimates increasing by 30%.

“Taxes generally increase,” Duepner said. “We’ve never seen this drastic of an increase... Maybe it is time to refinance if the rates come down, or maybe looking at home equity loans, or maybe just budgeting.”

Homeowners can appeal and challenge their home valuations with the County Assessor’s office, but the Assessor does not set county tax rates. That’s up to local taxing districts like municipalities, schools and fire districts and approved by voters.

There could be some relief coming, at least for seniors like Crowell. The Missouri House passed HJR 33, which would freeze property taxes once residents turn 65. The Senate has yet to pass the resolution, which would also need voter approval. The legislative session ends in a few weeks.