Renovations, new construction following tornadoes increasing property value: Here’s how much

Credit: Chris Stewart

Credit: Chris Stewart

Renovations and new construction have helped restore about one-third of the property values lost in Montgomery County due to Memorial Day tornadoes in 2019, according to the county auditor.

The county’s 2020 reappraisal shows repairs to storm-damaged properties have added back $26.8 million in value to losses of $85 million calculated after the storm, said Montgomery County Auditor Karl Keith.

Some homes are now worth more than before the tornadoes. That comes as no surprise to Steve Campbell, whose Old North Dayton house was damaged by a tornado and since repaired.

“It’s a whole new house,” he said. “It’s the best looking home on the street now.”

Rebuilding Together Dayton helped Campbell get a new roof, gutters and porch railings.

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Some tornado-damaged homes that have been rebuilt or are waiting for repairs already needed maintenance before the tornadoes hit, said Laura Mercer, executive director of the Miami Valley Long-Term Recovery Operations Group, which is coordinating many local rebuilding efforts.

Value of tornado-damaged properties rebounding

Tax AuthorityImpacted parcelsRepaired parcelsTornado damageTornado rebuildNet total
Harrison Twp.898145-23,028,0006,150,000-16,878,000
Perry Twp.13388-5,887,0003,601,000-2,286,000
Butler Twp.11432-2,965,0001,262,000-1,703,000
Clay Twp. 60-234,0000-234,000
Note: Data as of July 31. Jurisdictions on this sheet overlap.     
Source: Montgomery County Auditor's Office    

“One of our mottos is to ‘build back better,’” Mercer said. “We’re not building custom homes, but we’re trying to make sure that we’re bringing them back to be sanitary, secure and functional.”

The Auditor Office’s data show that of 2,640 properties that lost value due to storm damage, 716, or 27%, had been repaired as of July 31 and regained value.

Neighborhoods where more owners were insured bounced back faster, while those still needing help with repairs primarily lacked insurance, Mercer said.

Data from the county auditor show Brookville has regained a full two-thirds of the property value lost in the storm. Three of the other jurisdictions hit hardest by the largest Memorial Day tornado haven’t rebounded as quickly: Trotwood has regained 34% of the property value lost and Harrison Twp. and Dayton have each recovered 27%.

Alex Mattackal, the AmeriCorps disaster resiliency fellow with Rebuilding Together Dayton, said the organization often works with older tornado survivors like Campbell, who didn’t have insurance.

“A lot of times they haven’t had the resources to really invest in their property to bring the property value up,” she said.

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The storm — however destructive — gave some owners an opportunity to update their homes.

“It will definitely increase the value of a lot of these homes, which is pretty important, both for their quality of life and also looking forward to the future,” Mattackal said. “A lot of times for the elderly it’s a family asset. it’s a good thing that we’re able to get in there and use our resources to raise the overall property value. It’s good for the community in general.”

The original losses resulted on more than $3 million in tax revenue not being collected by school districts, townships and other entities that receive property tax revenue. The revenue impact moving forward will be clearer when new tax rates are figured in January, according to the Auditor’s Office.

Montgomery County Auditor Karl Keith said about $46 million in valuation loss was calculated after property owners applied for relief soon after the tornadoes. Another nearly $39 million came as a result of field work by the office’s staff.

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“We made a very aggressive and conscious effort to try to reach out to the people in those neighborhoods and those communities that had been victimized by the storms,” Keith said.

The Auditor’s Office tagged the 2,640 damaged properties in the system so when they are repaired or rebuilt the values can be adjusted upward to reflect the work, which as of the end of July added $26.8 million back to the county’s overall tax valuation, Keith said.

“We are seeing some of the turnaround,” he said. “There are still some areas that have not been touched since the tornado, so there’s still a lot of recovery to do … We said we would be dealing with this for years, but we are seeing some progress made.”

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