ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- You might soon be receiving a shock in your mailbox, notices telling you the new value of your home.
Does that mean your taxes will soon soar, too?
Patty Persons has that very question. She has lived in her quaint Crestwood home for more than 30 years. But on the inside, it needs some work.
“It’s ramshackle here and there, it has some problems,” she said.
Nothing’s been renovated in decades. The kitchen requires repair, so does the ceiling, in places. That’s why she was shocked to recently learn the home's value.
“I have never seen a hike like this, in just one year. Never," Persons said.
According to the St. Louis County Assessor, her home jumped in value from $113,000 two years ago to over $144,000, a 19 percent increase.
“How can it go up that much in just one year? It doesn't make any sense, my neighbors have been saying, too, it’s insane. It just doesn't make any sense,” Persons said.
Her worry is that taxes will skyrocket.
“It will be a terrible struggle, it’s not easy now, because I am on a fixed income, everything keeps going up,” she said.
Persons is far from alone. Preliminary numbers from the St. Louis County Assessor released in March showed an average of a 15 percent increase in assessments across the board in St. Louis County.
Homes in the Hancock School District in South County jumped the highest, almost 32 percent, according to preliminary numbers. while homes in more lower-income neighborhoods like those in the Riverview Gardens and Normandy school districts also went up, 13 percent and 9 percent respectively.
“I have never seen the news be this good, this consistent for the average property owner anywhere in the county,” said St. Louis County Jake Zimmerman.
An increase in values, he says, is good for homeowners, especially those looking to sell.
In years past, only more affluent places were likely to see increases.
“Don’t cry sad, sad tears for people in Clayton or Ladue, they are doing fine, but it’s encouraging that smaller, more affordable homes are going up everywhere,” Zimmerman said.
The values, he says, are determined largely by comparable sales in the neighborhood and by door-to-door assessments. He recently did some himself.
“Our job and our only job is to value the property right,” Zimmerman said.
If you think the assessment is wrong, for example, on the number of bedrooms or square footage, he says to come talk to them.
“The most popular sport is complaining to your neighbor about your assessment, but your neighbor can't help, but I can,” Zimmerman said.
An increase in your home’s value, he says, does not necessarily mean your taxes will go up. In fact, he says they could even go down.
“There’s a law, called the Hancock Amendment, the school district, the fire department, and the city council, they all have to lower their tax rate,” Zimmerman said.
Persons says she's still not so happy with her assessment, worried that even future tax hikes would just be too much for her.
“This is just too much, when you're on a fixed income,” she said.
Zimmerman says he feels for people like Persons. He's advocating for a state-wide tax increase freeze for seniors on fixed incomes. But that's up to the legislature.
News 4 checked other areas. In St. Louis City, residential assessment are up around 13 percent.
In St. Charles County, they're up a total of 9 percent.
If you don't agree with your assessments, county assessors said you can appeal.
If you live in St. Louis City, you can click here for the St. Louis City Assessor.
Click here for the St. Louis County Assessor.
And click here if you live in St. Charles County.