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Land Value Sales Price vs. Assessed Value

The Assessor reports assessed valuations as a function of land value and improvement value. While assessing properties is no easy task, the land value side of the equation appears to be particularly problematic for the Assessor.  
We looked at the prices of 51 land sales as reported in Costar in Cook County (all 2017 sales) compared to the total assessed value for the property by the Assessor in that year. Our study found that on average, the assessed value was 65% below the actual purchase price of the property. The Assessor had only 14% of the sales within 30% (either above or below) of the actual purchase price of the sales utilized in our analysis.



As appraisers, we periodically hear of building owners, buyers or bankers who rely on the assessed value as an indication of what they should buy, sell, or collateralize a property for. We have also seen out-of-state appraisers use the assessed property values as the basis for land value estimates.

It is important to note that the overwhelming number of the sales in our analysis were in Chicago and we are toward the end of the reassessment triennial with the potential for property appreciation since the last assessment. We also only made a cursory investigation into the sales to verify them as arm’s-length transactions. Our data implies the Assessor is furthest off in the highest value areas. They appear to sometimes have difficulty distinguishing the value of a property where there may be improvements on the site which do not reflect their highest and best use and assess the property based upon the existing building use which may not support the underlying land value.

Regardless, however, third parties would be wise to avoid using the Assessor’s land value in business decisions relating to a potential acquisition, sale or as collateral for a property.

J. Chie, Esquire

Our law firm provides legal work for real estate closings for over 30 years… What distinguishes Chicago Commercial Appraisal Group from other appraisers is the level of thoroughness and details.

A. Raila, Senior Tax Analyst

Gary is a hands-on professional always willing to pick up the phone and work with you... His appraisal firm produces one of the best real estate forecasting reports in the state. I highly recommend his work and his opinion is highly recognized by governmental agencies.

J. Norris, Property Tax Attorney

As an attorney, we deal with many appraisal reports used in tax appraisals. Gary's work has proven successful for our clients and I do not hesitate recommending him for tax assessment appeal appraisals.

C. Noone, property owner

I needed an appraisal for settling an estate. Mr. Peterson was very professional, punctual and helpful with the process. I received my report ina timely manner. I would certainly recommend this company, as well as use their services in the future.

J. Tsiaousis

Gary is one of the top commercial appraisers in Chicago. Every time I have a client in need of a commercial appraiser I refer all work to him without hesitation.