Housing values are soaring in Great Barrington. Here’s how that will affect residential property taxes

bridge st great barrington

A neighborhood near downtown Great Barrington in October. With the continued rise in the assessed value of the town’s homes comes a drop in the tax rate. 

GREAT BARRINGTON — The tax rate is down following a jump in the value of houses and other increases in taxable real estate in town.

The Select Board last week set the new tax rate for fiscal 2024 at $13.89 per $1,000 of a property’s assessed valuation by the town — down 18 cents over the previous fiscal year.

For the owner of a house assessed by the town at the median value of $440,100, for instance, this would amount to more than $560 in savings on their tax bill over last year for a home also valued at the median — which was then $399,600. 

The tax rate has continued to steadily fall since fiscal 2020 when the value of property began to sharply rise. 

And the total value of all taxable property in town now surpasses $2 billion.

Also contributing to the increase if value is “new growth,” according to Ross Vivori, the town’s principal assessor. As of June, 15 “brand new houses” were either built or still in construction, he told the board during the tax classification hearing.

These facts and figures come as the town is steeped in angst over its expensive housing market amid ongoing inflation and low-wage jobs. Scarcity of available housing is an all-too-familiar problem for people looking to buy or rent.

Prices have soared since the pandemic first started. In October, the median listing price for a home in town was $790,000, according to Realtor.com, a real estate listing and data website. That’s a nearly 44 percent hike from last year. For sold homes, the median price was $650,000.

While it gives the town a lot more tax revenue to pay the town’s bills — those bills also can and do rise.

Other information from the hearing: 

  • Commercial real estate values seesawed in the last five years, then made a jump in fiscal 2023 to a median assessed value of $495,500, where it remains now.
  • Residential “new growth” that includes construction of homes, additions and remodels fell to $10.7 million this year after exploding in fiscal 2021 and again in 2022, when it hit $28.5 million.
  • Water bills are going up. The Great Barrington Fire District Water Department’s new tax rate is $1.64 per $1,000 valuation — up 63 cents over last year.

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