Monday, June 01, 2009

Property tax relief in Los Angeles

by Calculated Risk on 6/01/2009 06:29:00 PM

From the LA Times: Property tax relief coming for more than 330,000 L.A. County homeowners

... The Los Angeles County assessor’s office this morning announced that it has finished an automatic review of assessments for 473,000 homes purchased between July 1, 2003 and June 30, 2008 -- which account for about 28% of homes countywide.

County officials reduced assessments on about 70% of properties reviewed. Homeowners getting a break should soon get a letter in the mail. The average property tax savings is $1,400 for owners of single family homes and $1,100 for condominium owners, county officials said.

Those receiving reductions included owners of 256,000 single family homes and 77,000 condo owners. The average reduction in value was $126,000 for single family homes; $96,000 for condos.

The reduction in assessments means a loss of $440 million in tax revenue, a 1% drop county officials anticipated in last month’s proposed budget, said Assessor Rick Auerbach.
According to the Case-Shiller home price index, prices in Los Angeles are back to the July 2003 level, and I'd think that just about every home purchased between July 2003 and July 2008 would be worth less today - not just 70%. Unfortunately for homeowners - and tax collectors - prices will probably fall further.

The good news is only 28% of all homes in Los Angeles county were purchased during the height of the bubble! Of course other homeowners probably used the Home ATM (cash out refinance or HELOC) and are underwater too.