About 47,000 county homeowners will soon find out that their homes are worth more than what they paid for them.
Assessor Larry Stone announced in a press release Thursday that the South Bay’s residential property market continues to trend upward, even if 81,000 homes in Santa Clara County remain less valuable than their original sale price. But there is a silver lining for these homeowners, according to the assessor’s office, which says the depreciated homes will be partially restored as market values continue to increase.
The remaining county property owners, about 384,000, must still adhere to the limits imposed by Proposition 13. Assessed value will annually increase by 2 percent, the assessor’s office says, but when the market value of a property declines below previously established value as of Jan. 1, the assessor is obligated to reduce the value to match the lower market rate.
Click the following link to understand Prop.8 and Prop. 13 in more detail. (It will take you five minutes.)
However, the good news is that once the market begins to bounce back, the assessor must restore the assessed values for properties that were reduced during the downturn. Here’s last year’s report.
“The increases in assessed value are clear evidence that Silicon Valley is roaring out of the economic abyss created by the recession,” Stone says. “Unemployment has dropped to 7 percent, faster than the nation or the state. The NASDAQ is soaring. Apartment rents have reached record levels with single-family homes close behind. It was inevitable that property taxes would follow.
“While increases in property taxes are never welcome, this is actually very good news for our local economy, especially for homeowners,” Stone continues. “It means the value of most families’ single most valuable asset, their home, is once again regaining solid equity lost in the collapse of the residential housing market.”
The assessor has also identified and reported areas that can expect to receive the largest increases in assessed values, a first in the assessor office’s history.
Homeowners will receive this information in an annual notification letter sent in October, which is earlier than many other counties in California. Santa Clara County is one of only 10 who provide early notice, the assessor office says.
“It is important to provide homeowners with as much early information as possible,” Stone says.
In an effort to increase customer service and lessen phone call traffic, an online tool is available 24/7 for property owners to understand comparable sales used to support their assessment.
“Understanding how we determined assessed values, for most homeowners, no longer requires calling—or worse, driving—to our office during business hours,” Stone says.
The Assessor’s “Email Opt-In” service allows homeowners to receive an early electronic notice, and the opt-in is also beneficial if a property owner wishes to request an informal review of their assessed value as information is administered on a first-come, first-served basis, according to Stone.
The opt-in allows taxpayers to receive assessment notices and to interact with the Assessor’s Office electronically, rather than waiting for postman or bashing their head against the wall to elevator music. Choosing to opt-in will also allow taxpayers to receive other services in the future that would otherwise require an ink signature.