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Weston's Housing Market Makes a Comeback

The Weston housing market is slowly making a comeback. And for a town where new homes tend to be pricey, that's good news for both builders and the town's tax base.

Last year, only two houses were built in town, according to building inspector Rack Gleason. For this fiscal year, eight houses are already in various phases of construction. With another six months left in FY2011, the market seems to be rebounding.

According to town administrator Tom Landry, Weston has one of the higher property tax rates in Fairfield County, and more houses means more tax revenue to cover rising costs. This, in turn, could mean an easing of the mill rate, which has increased each of the past five years. But that is a matter for later debate, Landry said.

Weston's revenue comes almost exclusively from property taxes -- only five percent of its municipal budget comes from the state, Landry added. So, as the state has cut its contributions to localities, Weston's budget has remained relatively unaffected.

The real estate conveyance tax also brings revenue to the town when houses are built, added First Selectman Gayle Weinstein.

Assessments in Weston have remained relatively flat this year, Landry added. In 2009, some residents saw values decrease by as much as 25 percent, which contributed to the tax rate increase last year.

It remains to be seen what next year's rate will be. Currently, Westonites pay $23.86 per $1,000 of assessed value. The assessed value is roughly 70 percent of the fair market value.

What do you think of the housing market in Weston? Is it doing better? Is there anything the town can do to encourage growth?

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