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Thursday, July 09, 2009

Property Taxes Fall in California

by Calculated Risk on 7/09/2009 10:24:00 AM

Even with plummeting house prices, it is hard for overall property taxes to decline in California. This is because the assessed value of properties held by long term homeowners is frequently far below market value - even after the recent steep decline in prices - so the assessed value for those homeowners continues to increase at 2% per year.

From the SacBee: California counties see property revenue fall

For the first time since the taxpayers' revolt of the 1970s, the total assessed value of properties is dropping in Sacramento and across California.

The property tax roll in Sacramento County is down 6.4 percent from last year – to $131.6 billion; in Contra Costa County it's down 7 percent; and in Merced County it's down almost 13 percent.
While Sacramento County is dropping the assessed value on more than 170,000 properties, most of the remaining 230,000 residential properties won't see a reduction. Those owners can expect their normal 2 percent annual increase, county Assessor Ken Stieger said.
Also, the current assessment on many homes is still well below their actual market value, meaning they don't qualify for a reduction.

This is often the case for people who have owned their home for many years. The Proposition 13-mandated 2 percent annual increase has likely not kept pace with the double-digit annual percentage increases in market value.
For communities with many long term property owners, the property taxes are still increasing - because the assessed values are still below current market values.

Jon Lansner at the O.C. Register has a breakdown by cities in Orange County: Steepest property tax-value dips hit Santa Ana
Orange County’s first drop in taxable property values in 14 years was by no means an across-the-board drop.

The Assessor’s recap of the new taxable values for homes and other properties — remember, that’s different that actual values — show that 25 of Orange County’s 34 cities saw their taxable values driven down by falling home prices, with an average decline of 2.4%. And 9 had increases, with an average gain of 1.2%.
The increases are mostly for cities with long term homeowners.