Preliminary data from the Department of Revenue shows towns in Southern Door lead the county in the percentage of added real estate value from 2016. The county as a whole has seen negligible growth, while Ephraim saw the greatest loss of property value in the county. Data is collected as of Jan. 1, marking new construction and changes in market value through 2016.
The towns of Gardner and Union saw the greatest percentage increase, 6.8 percent, in equalized real estate value, or the amount of money all of the taxable land and buildings in a municipality is worth. The village of Forestville, and the towns of Clay Banks and Brussels are also among the top seven in the county.
The two most important factors in changing equalized value are net new construction and changes in market value. Net new construction means a new building that wasn’t there before while changes in market value means the increase or decrease of the same piece of property given new market conditions.
Percentage of equalized real estate value in the rural southern Door County communities is not necessarily indicative of visible growth since those municipalities typically have lower valuations to begin with. Clay Banks, which had the third highest percentage increase of real estate value, had just $522,700 in new construction, the equivalent of someone building a single four-bedroom waterfront home on Lake Michigan Drive in Clay Banks.
In contrast, Liberty Grove saw nearly $7 million in net new construction last year, but that only contributed to a 0.6 percent increase in equalized value, the 11th highest in the county, because Liberty Grove has one of the largest base values in the county.
Ephraim had the lowest property value growth in the county, seeing a 3.3 percent decline in the total equalized value. While adding $1.6 million in new construction, the village lost more than $11 million from changes in market value based on real estate sales from last year.
The other municipalities showing a decline in value were the Town of Forestville (2.9 percent), Sevastopol (2.8), Washington (2.1), Gibraltar (2.0) and the Town of Egg Harbor (1.2).
As a whole, total growth throughout the county was 0.4 percent, propped up by growth within the villages, which collectively saw a 0.4 percent increase in value. Door County towns saw a negligible decrease in value of 0.04 percent while the City of Sturgeon Bay increased its value by 4.6 percent with $2.9 million in net new construction.
Growth of equalized value in Door County has slowed from 2016, when the county saw a two percent increase, led by a 6.6 percent increase in the villages and a 1.5 increase in towns.