Proving that it is indeed possible to write a story about home price increases without resorting to overly enthusiastic quotes real estate cheerleaders and/or government beneficiaries, the Tacoma News Tribune reports on the 22% increased property tax valuations being mailed out to Pierce County residents this week:
This week, the Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer's Office will mail the annual "Value Change Notice" postcards to owners of 246,754 residential properties.It will be interesting to see if the property tax valuations actually decrease if/when the bubble busts and the price of real estate in the area goes down. If anything is "sticky on the way down," I'll bet it's property tax valuations.
The 22.2 percent increase in average house values is based on data from 2005, when the real estate market was rolling like a freight train. This year, the housing market is cooling off, partly because of a slight increase in interest rates, experts say.
The county's biggest cities, including Tacoma, Lakewood and Puyallup, all saw increases in average house values of up to 22 percent. In Tacoma, for example, home values jumped from $188,293 in 2005 to $228,652 in 2006 – a 21.4 percent increase.
But smaller cities saw bigger increases.
Zenker described those smaller cities as "sleeper towns" where "people just want to be there." Pacific, for example, has offered affordable housing for people who commute north for jobs in Seattle and elsewhere in King County, Zenker said. But the big jump in values in Pacific (35.3%) indicate its role as an island of affordability is "pretty much done."
(Aaron Corvin, Tacoma News Tribune, 06.11.2006)