Cities surpass the rest of DeKalb in property value

Homes and businesses are increasingly concentrated in cities in DeKalb County.

For the first time last year, total assessed property values in cities exceeded those in the rest of DeKalb, according to county budget documents.

Cities held higher property value than unincorporated areas even though only about one-third of the county’s residents live in municipalities.

The creation of new cities accounted for some of the growth. Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Tucker have incorporated since 2008, and the city of Stonecrest will open for business this year.

The lasting effects of the recession that began in late 2007 also played a role. While property values have rebounded in developed city areas, blight has remained more of a challenge in some unincorporated regions.

DeKalb CEO Mike Thurmond wrote in his budget proposal last month that reducing blight to preserve property values will be one of his priorities.

Overall, those who live in cities made up 53 percent of the county’s tax digest in 2016, while property owners in unincorporated areas accounted for the other 47 percent.

The DeKalb Commission plans to vote on the county’s $1.3 billion annual budget by the end of this month.