Almanac

News - July 17, 2013

Higher property values reflect 'strong recovery'

by Renee Batti

Cities, school districts and other public agencies in San Mateo County will see their revenue from property taxes swell as a result of a significant rise in assessed property values in 2013-14.

Compared with last fiscal year's figures, the county experienced an overall 6.01 percent increase in assessed property values. For the second year running, Atherton's increase surpassed 9 percent, with a 9.04 percent increase for 2013-14 and a 9.05 percent increase last fiscal year.

Atherton was the only city or town to experience a 9 percent or higher increase last year. This year, the town's increase is second highest; Foster City experienced a 9.37 percent increase over last year's assessed property value — up from 3.28 percent last year.

Menlo Park's assessed property values rose by 6.51 percent, up from 4.44 percent last year; Woodside values increased by 7.56 percent, up from 4.23 percent; and Portola Valley values increased by 6.22 percent, up from 5.28 percent.

Overall, the county's combined secured and unsecured property value assessment roll increased by $8.8 billion, to $156 billion, according to an announcement by Mark Church, the county's assessor-county clerk-recorder.

"The real estate market has definitely rebounded this year and overall is showing signs of a strong recovery," he said. "Total assessed values have increased in all 20 cities, and most of the percentage increases are significant compared to previous years."

But there are exceptions: Brisbane experienced a decline of .08 percent, and other North County and coastal cities showed less than robust increases. For example, Half Moon Bay's values increased by only 1.3 percent; South San Francisco's, by 2.25 percent; and Colma's, by 2.51 percent. Property in unincorporated areas increased in value by 3.88 percent.

About 1 percent of the $156 billion in the county's property value assessment for this year will translate into tax revenue for public agencies, according to Terry Flinn, special assistant to the assessor. The county anticipates receiving about 22 percent of that revenue, he said, basing the projection on last year's allocation.

Although each school district, special district and city also receives a portion of the tax revenue, the county is still working on determining the allocation amounts, said Shirley Tourel, the county's deputy controller. But the dollar amount should be higher than last year's for each public agency, Mr. Flinn said.

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