Rochesterians know all too well that living in the Flower City comes with its caveats. While the city offers a plethora of cultural events, a rich history, and an exploding food scene, the harsh winters can sometimes make some forget why they live here in the first place. When you’re scraping ice off your car or shoveling snow in the driveway — whether it’s six inches of wet snow or 38 inches of dry snow, it’s all the same — you might curse your decision to settle down in the ROC. But you may change your tune when you hear about just how valuable your home might be.
Despite the fact that 85% of the nation’s homes were built prior to 1980 (and many of the houses in the city center are older than that), it looks as if age isn’t negatively impacting Rochester’s housing market. In fact, many homeowners just received notice that their property assessments are on the rise. In a citywide assessment, it was revealed that property values in the city increased by 19.3% on average, jumping from $76,145 to $90,864. The biggest increases were seen in the South Wedge and Upper Falls neighborhoods, which showed respective jumps of 37% and 34%. Overall, 84% of residential property owners saw increases in their assessments, though only about one-fourth of commercial property owners experienced any kind of assessment increase.
“Rochester is home to one of the hottest real estate markets in the nation,” explained Justin Roj with the City of Rochester in a statement. “Home assessments are up in every single neighborhood in the city. Every single one.”
This is potentially good news for homeowners looking to sell in the near future. But it could also have a negative impact on property taxes for those who choose to stay put. Assessments will apply to the 2021 fiscal year, which starts in July. And since one-third of Rochesterians live in poverty, higher taxes and less-affordable housing could actually have negative effects on property ownership overall. It’s entirely possible that many Rochesterians will have to continue renting if they want to remain in the city — and perhaps rent a professional storage unit to secure valuables and belongings they can’t store on-site — rather than buying property they can’t afford. Alternatively, it could push some residents to look for homes outside the city itself; while suburban living remains a popular option, many Rochester residents don’t want to give up convenient walkability and other perks.
Of course, it’s not a sure thing that all homeowners will see a tax increase. That’s determined by the tax rate and levy, which won’t be set until next summer. Should city spending remain constant or if the tax rate is reduced, property taxes might end up going down (depending on the specific assessment increase).
Still, many homeowners and community leaders aren’t thrilled by the news. Bryce Miller of the North Winton Village Association expressed his concerns to RochesterFirst.com, saying that he’s worried about the most vulnerable people in the neighborhood.
“There are people here who have such a strict budget, they have nowhere they can cut,” said Miller. He’d like to see some kind of assessment cap put in place and suggested that homeowners can meet with a city appraiser to set up another assessment in an effort to contest the increases.
And while Realtor.com recently ranked Rochester as the sixth-hottest housing market nationwide, other residents are apprehensive about whether the assessments actually reflect true property values — and what the increase could mean for the escalating number of rental properties in the area. In many cases, it means that landlords and rental property owners are making major money while many homeowners could end up being priced out.
For now, city residents may have to adopt a wait-and-see approach. Alternatively, they can prepare for what’s known as “Grievance Day” — the designated date to contest housing assessments. In Rochester, that occurs on March 17, 2020. In order to contest an assessment, homeowners have to present evidence to Rochester’s Board of Assessment Review and offer sound reasoning for a lowered assessment. But if arguing your case isn’t an option, you may simply have to see what happens when the tax rates are determined later this year and hope for the best.
Welcome back, readers, to a new, semi-regular Filling In feature – Fantasy Buildings. Fantasy Building, really, since each feature will look at just one imaginary building I’ve been thinking about (imagining?). I’ll also share a few pictures of buildings that inspired the idea and maybe a few ideas of just where a building like this would work in Rochester.
It will actually be warm soon—and stay warm. But, when you live in upstate NY you don’t necessarily wait for the ground to thaw to start your housing search. Smart shoppers know the best spots don’t last long on the market, whether it’s a new build, a fixer upper or a historic landmark. Now there’s another tool you can add to your home buying tool box.
The City of Rochester, City Council, and the Rochester Coalition for Neighborhood Living have launched Celebrate City Living , a new program to help homebuyers and renters learn about the benefits of living in the city and find the resources to make it easier to buy or rent a home in Rochester…
Consider this a lightweight palette cleanser in the middle of the five course, multi-month feast that is the zoning series. Even so, it’s deeply related to zoning, so you’re not getting off that easy. Read on if you dare (Halloween pun intended!).
Have you ever discovered a piece of living history in your own home? It can be a thrilling moment when something that’s been hiding under your feet (or above your head) for decades suddenly reveals itself, opening a little window onto the past.
Last week Brenda Washington sent us these photos and a note that read:
“Hello! I have a home in the Highland section of town (circa 1870) and have a really cool wooden block “for sale” sign that was found in the attic, from Neil Real Estate Co. Its a pretty cool sign… Never have seen one like it!”
We know the feeling, Brenda. And we’re happy to share your discovery. Here are the photos of the sign and an old Rochester business directory Brenda also found from 1921 showing an old advertisement for Neil Real Estate Co…
Today I’d like to take a slight departure from our normal Filling In fare. No, I don’t propose to fill in all the banks in Rochester, although that’s not such a bad idea, now that I think about it. What I’d like to talk about is banks and buying stuff. Well, not just any stuff, specifically real estate…
Welcome to Part 2 of Filling In: 37 Eagle Street. It’s been a while, so to catch you up, in Part 1 my wife and I bought an empty lot at 37 Eagle Street in Corn Hill. But the fun doesn’t stop there. We decided to build ourselves a house on it, and we’re going to take you along for the ride!
Today I want to talk about architects. Just for starters, we decided we did not want off-the-shelf plans and would instead pay (about 10% of the overall project budget) for a house to be designed from scratch…
Welcome to the first part of Filling In: 37 Eagle Street. I’d love to tell you how many parts to expect, but I don’t really know. What I can tell you is that this is the first Filling In about a real live project: my wife and I are building ourselves a house at 37 Eagle Street in Corn Hill.
So what gives? Why a house, you say? Well, I’ve always dreamed of building myself a house, and if you haven’t noticed from previous columns, I’m very much interested in developing Rochester. If that’s not a fortuitous intersection of desires, I don’t know what is…
This week on Filling In, we’re going to take a look at one of the sadder surface parking lot+grass field combos in the city. Sure it’s not the only one, but it’s sitting in a built up neighborhood, next to a local grocery store.* Indeed, the walk score of this location is a hefty 86. It’s not for a lack of ideas that nothing is here. Take a look at this prior effort…
Rochester is loaded with fun things to do and see including many festivals, shopping, entertainment, art and culture. Our city is consistently ranked highly on national “quality of life” lists. We’ve got exciting neighborhoods. Great people. And great old homes – at crazy affordable prices.
Here comes another great home buying opportunity for anyone looking to move into the area, or anyone who may be growing tired of renting. Let’s look at 279 Field Street in the Swillburg Neighborhood…
Dear readers, we interrupt our three part Charlotte series to give you a small morsel of something different before the grand finale. Consider this a palette cleanser, an intermezzo, if you will.
I looked up tired in the dictionary, and found this picture of 34 King Street in the Susan B. Anthony neighborhood. Seeing as the Carriage Factory lofts are being built immediately behind, I think it’s time for a major upgrade here. Allow me to present the all-new 34 King Street…
First, a note from RochesterSubway.com…
A month or so ago, local realtor Rich Tyson submitted an article about Rochester’s active North Winton Village and showed a home-buying opportunity for anyone who might be looking for a great deal in a great city neighborhood.
Some people saw this as a cheap “knock-off” of what the Landmark Society does in the City Newspaper each week. To that I say, so what? This was not intended to be a knock-off. But if that’s how you feel, stop reading. On the other hand, if you’re interested in learning a bit about Rochester’s various neighborhoods and in seeing the full range of what Rochester’s real estate market has to offer, enjoy.
The homes featured by Landmark Society are fantastic architectural specimens. The homes featured by Rich Tyson are not perfect, but they are also great city homes that need good owners. And if you are a real estate agent or a homeowner looking to sell your city home, you are quite welcome to submit an article as well… firstname.lastname@example.org
Ok, enough of that. Let’s check out some other homes for sale. This time in the gorge-ous Maplewood neighborhood…
Winter, spring, summer and fall, Rochester is loaded with fun things to do and see …festivals, shopping, entertainment, art and culture. Our city is consistently ranked highly on national “quality of life” lists. We’ve got exciting neighborhoods. Great people. And great old homes – at crazy affordable prices.
This is the first entry in a new series for anyone looking to move into the area, or anyone who may be growing tired of renting. RochesterSubway.com has teamed up with realtor Rich Tysonwill happily team up with ANY realtor or homeowner to highlight home buying opportunities in the City of Rochester.
Okay, I haven’t put the time or effort into crafting my own vision for the old Midtown Tower, so Im not going to be overly critical here. But Im going to show you two concepts for Midtown that were sent to the city this week for review (and 1 wildcard concept). The first drawing (shown on the left) is from local developers Patrick Dutton and Shane Bartholf. It includes 158 for-sale condominiums with large window openings, common or public use of the former restaurant space on the 14th floor, and mixed-use office and retail on the first three floors. As you can see they’ve also added some shiny (albeit blurry) people to their drawing, as well as a lovely solar-flare effect to make the building look extra shiny…
Last week, Senator Chuck Schumer and County Exec. Maggie Brooks announced that the Renaissance Square project will be moving ahead, with or without the performing arts center. $45 million would still need to be raised to build the theater, and at this point it looks like that money would need to be raised entirely with private donations — HIGHLY unlikely. So what exactly are we building? A new bus station (essentially a covered parking lot for buses). New classrooms for Monroe Community College. Oh, and a big grassy area where the performing arts center would have been.
After the Erie Canal was rerouted south of downtown Rochester, the Rochester
Industrial & Rapid Transit Railway (the subway) was built in
its place as a link between the five different railroads and interurban trolley
lines that served the Rochester area. As the industrial landscape of Rochester
changed, and highways replaced the railroads, the Rochester subway gradually
became a relic of a bygone era. In 1956 the subway was abandoned and much of
its route was converted into Interstate 490 built to connect Rochester
with the New York State Thruway (I-90). Read more about the history of the Rochester Subway.
RochesterSubway.com exists to help spark
public dialogue around how we can better connect the neighborhoods of Rochester
NY, surrounding communities, and their cultural offerings. Rochesters
future is written in her past. Let's rediscover it.