Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Board Finds Foreclosure Purchase Failed to Support Reduction in Assessed Value of Property

Excerpts of the Board's Determination follow:

c) Here, the Trust relies mainly on the fact that it bought the subject property for $16,000 on March 30, 2006. True, a property’s sale price can be compelling evidence of its market value-in-use. But in this instance, Mr. Kollar admits the Trust purchased the property from Federal Home Loan Mortgage Company, out of foreclosure.

d) The Manual provides the following definition of “market value”:

The most probable price (in terms of money) which a property should bring in a competitive and open market under all conditions requisite to a fair sale, the buyer and seller each acting prudently and knowledgeably, and assuming the price is not affected by undue  stimulus. Implicit in this definition is the consummation of a sale as of a specified date and the passing of title from seller to buyer under conditions whereby:

i. The buyer and seller are typically motivated;
ii. Both parties are well informed and advised and act in what they consider their best interests;
iii. A reasonable time is allowed for exposure in the open market;
iv. Payment is made in terms of cash or in terms of financial arrangements comparable thereto;
v. The price is unaffected by special financing or concessions.

MANUAL at 10.

e) It is apparent from the Manual’s definition that a property purchased out of foreclosure may not reflect its market value for reasons such as a lack of exposure to the open market or the seller (i.e., the bank) not being typically motivated. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the party relying upon that sale to offer specific evidence to allay these concerns. See Lake County Assessor v. U.S. Steel Corp, 901 N.E.2d 85, 91-92 (Ind. Tax Ct. 2009) review denied (approving of the use of bankruptcy sales when taxpayer established that such sales were a market norm).

f) While Mr. Kollar offered evidence that the property had been listed on the open market, the listing he submitted spanned from March 27, 2002, to August 30, 2002. Not only is that time period well before the valuation dates in question, the listing itself bears no relationship to the Trust’s 2006 purchase of the property. Mr. Kollar, in fact, offered no evidence that the property had been listed on the market when he bought it. Thus, this argument lacked probative value.

g) Mr. Kollar also offered a study completed by the City of South Bend that was published in 2013. Mr. Kollar argued that this study provides proof that the subject property is located in a “blighted area.” However, the study was published over five years after the nearest valuation date in question, and Mr. Kollar failed to prove how this study related to the relevant valuation dates in question. The Board finds no probative evidence in the study that conclusively proves that foreclosure sales were the market norm for the subject property’s neighborhood as of January 1, 2007, and January 1, 2008. And Mr. Kollar failed to point the Board to any such evidence. See Indianapolis Racquet Club, Inc. v. Washington Twp. Assessor, 802 N.E.2d 1018, 1022 (Ind. Tax Ct. 2004) (“[I]t is the taxpayer's duty to walk the Indiana Board through every element of the analysis”).

h) Consequently, the Board finds that the Petitioner failed to make a prima facie case that the 2008 and 2009 assessments are incorrect. Where a Petitioner has not supported its claim with probative evidence, the Respondent’s duty to support the assessment with substantial evidence is not triggered. Lacy Diversified Indus. LTD v. Dep’t of Local Gov’t Fin., 799 N.E.2d 1215, 1221-22 (Ind. Tax Ct. 2003).