I hope you're sitting down, because you're in for a shock. Get this... when "hot, hot, hot" home prices "soar" "sizzle" and make "huge gains," tax assessments that do the same aren't far behind! I know—who would have thought!
Linda Peterson's 1,200-square-foot rambler in Monroe has the same avocado-colored sinks it had when she bought it in 1975. She and her husband, David, finally replaced the shag carpet a few years ago, but few other improvements have been made.I agree. It is absolutely ridiculous. But unfortunately for homeowners, soaring tax assessments is a reflection of the absolutely ridiculous housing market. You know, the double-digit year-over-year gains that have been persistently trumpeted in the news outlets for years now? I'm sorry, but this story just gives me the impression that as a group, homeowners just want to have their cake and eat it too. Sorry darlin', the real world just don't work that way.
Imagine their surprise when they received a notice from the county assessor that their property's 2006 assessed value had jumped more than $86,000 from the previous year.
"And I'm thinking, 'For what?' I can't imagine why," Linda Peterson said.
Snohomish County properties had an average increase of 20 percent in assessed value this year from 2005, according to a report from the county assessor.
That's almost double the 11.3 percent increase in property values statewide, according to the state Department of Revenue. It's also a leap for Snohomish County, which saw increases of about 11 percent in 2004 and again in 2005.
A blazing real-estate market in Snohomish County is to blame, County Assessor Cindy Portmann said.
"As long as people keep buying at these prices, market values will continue to climb," she said.
But former King County Assessor Harley Hoppe, who now helps homeowners with appraisals, property taxes and appeals through his firm on Mercer Island, thinks that assessed values are sailing so much higher not because of the market, but because of county officials.
"This is a criticism of Pierce, King and Snohomish counties. They've gone to the max height of the market and it's scaring residents," said Hoppe. "It's absolutely ridiculous. Values do not increase like this."
(Kathy F. Mahdoubi, Seattle Times, 08.16.2006)