2020 Town of Sutton Property Valuation Update Information


For tax year 2020, all property values have been updated to market value as of April 1, 2020 using qualified sales in the Town of Sutton from January 1, 2018 to April 01, 2020. This is a process that every municipality must complete at least every 5 years to ensure the property tax burden is equitably distributed in accordance with State law, which was last done in 2015.

Market value is defined as the amount of money a typical, well-informed purchaser would be willing to pay for a property in an arm’s-length sale, or is also known as a “Qualified Sale” per NH RSA 75:1. An arm’s-length sale is one where the buyer and seller are not related, are willing parties and not under pressure to sell or buy, the property is available on the open market, and payment is made in cash or has typical financing for that type of property.

The real estate market in Sutton and Merrimack County has shown a continual increase over the last 5 years. Each year the NH Department of Revenue does an equalization study, which compares the sale prices to the assessed values to see how the assessments are holding up in that year’s market conditions. From 2015 to 2019, the ratio has fallen 19.4%. In addition, the NH Association of Realtors posts sales statistics both statewide and by county. The Merrimack County sale statistics show an increase in value of 26.8% over the past 5 years. The first quarter of 2020 shows an increase of 9.7%.

Traditionally we will also review the sales that take place after April 01 to assure our market valuations are on track. However, given the circumstances of COVID this year we have not given any weight to the continual increase we are seeing in these sales and any increase in value is based purely on the January 1, 2018 to April 01, 2020.
Most property owners will see values increase in the area of 25-30%; however, some classes of property such as Manufactured housing or raw land did not show the same increases as residential improved properties. And in other instances, properties with water frontage or views may see a larger increase based on the market sales. In addition, any renovations and upgrades done to properties that we were able to identify that were not previously accounted for have been adjusted as well.

Please note that these value increases DO NOT NECESSARILY mean that your taxes will increase. Taxes are based on the combined budgets for the Town, school and county. The tax rate is determined by taking the total of those budgets divided by the overall value of the Town to arrive at a tax rate to fulfill the towns budgetary needs. The assessing system is the mechanism to distribute the tax burden that is approved by the voters of the town. Unfortunately, there is no way to determine the impact of the update until after the values are finalized.

This means the 2020 tax rate has NOT been set. Please DO NOT USE the 2019 tax rate when trying to estimate your taxes. Due to the significant change in town-wide value, the tax rate will change. The NH Department of Revenue will set a final tax rate after values have been finalized. The new rate will be the one to use when estimating your taxes.
If you choose to schedule an appointment, please have available any information that you feel supports your position. During our discussion we will be reviewing the details of your property, your new value, and the way the new value was calculated. Please be assured that you will have an opportunity to have your assessment concerns reviewed, however we will be unable to answer any questions about what your new taxes bill will be.