From start to finish, it takes about two years from when information about market values is gathered until property taxes on that parcel are paid.
That lag time is part of the problem when it comes to understanding high market values when homes are selling for far less.
"An appraisal is an estimate of property value based on historical data at a set point in time -- Jan. 2 of each year -- and the market can change dramatically by the time the property is sold," according to the Minnesota revenue department.
Property taxes that are paid in 2010 are based on estimated property values that are set in January of 2009. Those values are based on sales of similar homes that happened between October 2007 and September of 2008.
If home prices take a sharp turn up or down during that time-frame, the estimated market value may seem out of line, but it usually evens out in the next cycle.