59,000 see taxable property value rise


Link: http://lansner.ocregister.com/2010/07/22/59000-see-taxable-property-value-rise/73917/

Original Post Date: July 22, 2010

By: Jonathan Lansner and Jeff Collins

Some 59,000 Orange County property owners will get a likely unexpected surprise in their annual value review for tax purposes: their taxable values of these residences will rise a collective $2.9 billion.

In an era of falling property values, the Orange County Assessor found that some slices of Orange County are enjoying a bit of a real estate rebound. Many taxpayers forget that the county can raise your taxable value in excess of the mandated cap on increases (this year is a bit odd, so there’s no mandated increase) if your value has previously been pruned and remains below full Prop. 13 value.

And, remember, taxable values determines one’s tax bill. (The valuation notice is in the mail, by the way!) Also, values are set as of Jan. 1.

Some of these 59,000 value restorations will see increases greater than 5% year to year. Assessor Webster Guillory notes that was no  pattern as to where these value hikes occurred. “The market is mixed,” he says.

Overall, the Assessor report says …

  • 300,000 property values were reviewed, including “single-family homes, townhouses, condominiums, multi-family apartments, commercial/industrial buildings and timeshares.”
  • 148,000 of these Orange County properties got taxable values reduced or kept the same.
  • 78,000 residences got further back-to-back decreases vs. over 160,000 last year. To the Assessor, “This reduction is reflecting a stabilizing residential real estate market.”
  • Over 7,000 commercial, industrial, and multi-family properties got value reductions vs. about 1,800 last year to over 7,000 properties this year. To the Assessor, “The market for these properties continued to decline in 2009.”

One quirk this year is that the Prop. 13 cap on increases on taxable values actually was a decrease of 0.237% for this 2010-2011 tax year. Why? Because the cap is based on a statewide Consumer Price Index, a benchmark that fell in 2009 — the first drop since Prop. 13 passed in 1978. So for many taxpayers, those with market values in excess of their discounted Prop 13. values, their tax bill will fall modestly in the coming year.

When it all added up, Orange County secured property roll totaled $396.1 billion, down $1.69 billion or 0.43% than last year. Orange County’s unsecured roll — business personal property, plus marine and aircraft  — was $20.6 billion, off $340 million or 1.61%. Combined, it’s $417 billion, down $2 billion in a year.
Since the Assessor’s Office does its valuations based on property trends, we had to ask if Guillory had seen evidence that the worst was over for local real estate. He told us:”We’re not there yet .. that a market bottom is here.” He adds: “Look across all property types, they’re all behaving differently … the market is not homogeneous”