JEFFERSON COUNTY, Neb. -- Property values in Jefferson County have increased significantly lately.

But why is that?

The county is required by law to have property value be within 92 to 100% of the market price. After an evaluation, the County Assessor found that the ratio for Jefferson County was below those numbers.

A large number of home sales for a profit can cause that. 

“When you go to sell it in 2024, it is going to be worth a little bit more than it was in 1988,” said County Assessor Mary Banahan.

One example provided is a house that was sold for $22,500 in 1981 is now being sold in 2022 for $195,000. 

The county is forced through state statute to equalize the property around the county. 

If one house sells for a profit, residents around the county who did not sell their property are still affected. This is the case throughout the state. 

Banahan explained the process of property equalization. 

“If someone sells their property for a profit and it’s a good sale, then the assessor’s office has to analyze all the good sales and raise the properties that have not sold to equalize the value across the market area and the valuation groups,” Banahan said. “That’s what statutes require us to do.”

Banahan said with the sales of houses being higher recently, the county has to adjust to the market price, which would be higher. 

With more people moving in and out of Jefferson County, Banahan is required to follow these statutes. 

“If houses are selling and for more than we had them assessed for,” Banahan said. “That impacts when we do our analysis. It says for equalization we have to raise the properties that did not sell.”