Local builders get a bailout

December 29, 2008 9:00:00 PM PST
Home builders are struggling to pay their property tax bills and are turning for help.Research by Eyewitness News shows at least two dozen have been put on special payment plans by the Wake County assessor's office. The financial help started about two weeks ago.

Some of the brand new townhouses in the Edgewater Community in Raleigh haven't sold. The builder, Anderson Homes, is one of a record number of builders asking Wake County for help with its property tax bills in this slow housing market.

The county has agreed to let them make monthly payments with interest.

"Their sales have slowed down significantly," Revenue Director Marcus Kinrade said. "They're having trouble making payroll let alone quite a bit of property taxes."

Kinrade says so far the number of requests total $2 million in tax money that the county won't see right away.

He expects that amount to double since the number of home sales has nearly dropped in half.

In Wake County, single family residential sales are down 40 percent from January to November of this year compared to last.

In the month of November, 1675 homes sold last year compared to 549 this year.

"Obviously to get it in the bank now is better but we're focused on getting the money before the end of the fiscal year, working with people who we know are having a difficult time and not causing any bad situations," Kinrade said.

The county doesn't want to see any builders go bankrupt out of business.

It's offering the same help to individual homeowners who may be struggling too.

Whether you're a builder, investor or individual homeowner who can't make their full property tax payment by January 6, the revenue department says call them now, be proactive, and they'll work out a payment plan before the bill is late.

Kinrade says the incentive for the county is it saves the legal cost of filing delinquency filings and ends up at the same result.


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