- Condo owners have to pay for services the Town of New Canaan provides free of charge to home owners. Condo complexes are responsible for paving and maintaining their own roads. At Prides Crossing, we budget to spend $300,000-plus every 20 years to repave our roads. We reserve $15,000 per year in anticipation of that expense. In addition, we spend $30,000 annually for snowplowing and $5,000 per year to upgrade the lighting of our roads. That amounts to $50,000 per year or $1,000 per condo. (Prides Crossing has 51 units.) These types of expenses are paid by residents via our Prides Crossing Tax District. The tax district is a municipal tax through which the condo association pays for services the Town of New Canaan would provide if we were a public entity. Tax District payments need to be taken into account whenever condo taxes are adjusted. The revaluation totally ignores this important consideration.
- Condos are over assessed, before the revaluation, compared to single family homes. There were nine newly constructed houses sold in New Canaan during 2018. They sold for an average price of $440 per square foot, including land cost. Post revaluation, the least expensive unit in Prides Crossing (based on appraised value per square foot) is about $440 and the most expensive about $550. That’s right, the town of New Canaan values 1973 construction higher than 2018 construction. Single family home assessments have two components: land value and building value. A typical house built between 1970-1975 has a building appraisal (fair market value) of about $130 per square foot. If you apply that appraised value to all the condos in Prides Crossing, the result is a land valuation of over $30 million for our five-acre parcel. Compare that to the nearly $8.2 million appraised value the town of New Canaan has assigned to the 3.39 acres on Park Street, owned by M2 Partners where 110 dwellings have been approved to be built. Totally arbitrary. (Editor’s Note: the Merritt Village figure is an appraisal of land only, not buildings.) Now you see why the town provides only one number for condo valuations. They cannot justify any combination of land and building values.
- The real estate market for condos is declining in parallel with single family houses. Single family houses are assessed 7 percent lower, but contrary to real estate market data, condo assessments were increased by 9 percent. Families live in single family houses and seniors live in condos. (Over 90 percent of Prides Crossing residents are over 65.) Homeowners are typically families with kids that attend public schools. Senior, condo owners do not use the school system that 70 percent of their tax dollars pay to support. (Schools represent 70 percent of the town budget.) Residents that use the schools should pay a higher proportionate share to pay for them. The revaluation has it backwards. It gives a “scholarship” to families and shifts the burden of payment to seniors. This is bad public policy. New Canaan needs to lower taxes on condos, seniors. Condo assessments should not be greater than the town average of -7 percent.
Finally, I think it is worth noting that I made two consecutive appointments with Municipal Advisors to contest the new, higher valuations. At the outset of the first appointment, I stated that I am the president of the Prides Crossing HOA and I was there the represent all Prides Crossing condo owners as a group. I was told I could not do that. I was only allowed to discuss my individual condo valuation.
Condo owners need to be heard as a group. This is a call to action It’s important. Please get involved.
Prides Crossing HOA