Pierce property values still climbing

Sep 28th, 2022 | By | Category: Personal Finance/Consumers

Pierce County communities with the the largest current increases in home values, all at 20 percent or more, include the Puget Sound waterfront town of Steilacoom.

Home values increased by a “startling” countywide average of about $80,000 per home in the past year, said Assessor-Treasurer Mike Lonergan.

Overall, residential properties went up 19 percent this year, compared to 16 percent in 2021. By individual communities, the largest increases this year (20 percent or more) are in Gig Harbor, Carbonado, Key Peninsula, Steilacoom, University Place, South Prairie, Parkland, Spanaway, Roy, Pacific, and the Pierce County portion of Auburn.

Longeran, who attributes the increases to a hot real estate market, cautioned homeowners not to expect higher values will result in a hefty tax increase. He noted state law limits the amount taxes can go up without a vote of the people.

“It’s a math equation, and when values are rising, the legal limits on each taxing district will reduce their tax rates per thousand dollars of value,” Lonergan said.

Tax bills in 2023 will be the new 2022 value multiplied by the combined tax rates of school districts, cities, and fire districts in homeowners’ areas, added to the statewide school levy “that everyone pays,” Lonergan explained. “So a lot depends on public votes in local districts, such as levy lid lifts and bond issues.”

While home values are all up “dramatically,” the change varies from community to community based on sales of similar properties,  Lonergan explained. For example, the 18.4 percent increase in Tacoma was near the countywide average, bringing the typical Tacoma residence to $493,000–an increase of $77,000. By contrast, Edgewood’s increase was the lowest at 12.9 percent ($69,000) for an average 2022 residential value of $604,000.”

As for commercial property, most showed slight value increases as COVID-9 restrictions eased, with the exception of hotels which remained unchanged, according to Lonergan. Retail, restaurants and office space each went up around 5 percent, while apartment buildings and warehouses showed another year of double-digit increases due to continuing demand for affordable housing and online-ordering businesses.

Tax bills based on 2022’s valuations will be sent to property owners next year, with the first half payment due April 30.

For current tax bills this year, the second half payment is due Oct. 31.

More information is available from the assessor-treasurer’s office at piercecountywa.gov/atr and 253-798-6111.

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