Assessor: Pierce homes increasing in value

Aug 18th, 2020 | By | Category: News

The latest assessed values of over 327,000 parcels of property throughout Pierce County have been mailed or e-mailed to the property owners.  And the valuations are going up.

The 2020 values will be used as the basis for property taxes to be billed in February 2021.

“Homes in all parts of our county continue to increase in value,” said Assessor-Treasurer Mike Lonergan, whose office sent out the latest notices. He noted that overall, residential property went up 8.8 percent this year, due to a continued strong real estate market. Last year’s increase was 7.5 percent.

State law requires county assessors to value properties as of Jan. 1, so these values don’t reflect any change that may result from the COVID-19 pandemic that started later.

“Actually,” Lonergan said, “real estate sales have continued strong so far, and if there is a softening of the market, that will begin to show up in next year’s assessed values.”

Lonergan cautioned homeowners not to jump to the conclusion that an increase in value will result in a tax increase.

“It’s a math equation,” he said.  “Your tax in 2021 will be the new 2020 value multiplied by the combined tax rates of your school district, city, fire district and so forth, added to the state and countywide property taxes that everyone pays. A lot depends on (election) votes by the public and the Legislature.”

Countywide averages can be misleading, because values change at varying rates in different communities, Lonergan explained.

“The increase in Tacoma was slightly above the County average, bringing the typical Tacoma residence to $351,000, which is an increase of nearly $30,000,” he said. By contrast, Roy’s increase was the lowest at 6 percent, for an average 2020 home value of $262,000.

The highest average value in the county is $534,000 in Gig Harbor, up from $489,000 in 2019. The greatest percentage increase from year to year was 10.8 percent in Orting, for a new average value of $323,000.

Owners of mobile and manufactured homes, scattered throughout much of the county, will see especially large percentage increases this year. Lonergan reported, “Our depreciation tables were undervaluing most mobile homes by an average of 25 percent. The demand for affordable housing has pushed resale prices for manufactured housing higher, and I am required by law to reflect that, so that everyone is taxed fairly.”

Any property owner who believes their property has been overvalued may appeal to the Pierce County Board of Equalization at no cost. The appeal must be filed no later than Aug. 24 this year, with evidence that comparable properties have sold recently at a lower amount. More information on the process is available at www.piercecountywa.gov/atr.

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