The assessed value of property in Menlo Park grew 12.5 percent in 2015, a faster rate than that of any other city in San Mateo County, county assessor Mark Church announced on June 23.
Overall the assessed value of property in the county, upon which property taxes are based, rose 7.6 percent in 2015, with an 8.2 percent rise in Atherton, a 6.9 percent rise in Woodside and a 4.5 percent rise in Portola Valley.
Mr. Church said the county's property tax roll has increased by 35.5 percent since 2010.
While Menlo Park's percentage increase in assessed value was more than its 2014 increase of 11.4 percent, in other local communities the rate of growth actually fell slightly from the previous year.
In Portola Valley the rate of increase had been 7.23 percent in 2014 but 4.5 percent in 2015. In Atherton the 2014 increase was close to 9 percent, but fell to 8.2 percent in 2015. In Woodside the rate was nearly identical 6.96 percent in 2014 and 6.92 percent in 2015.
Mr. Church said the property assessment roll is the assessed value of all properties as of January 1 each year and reflects any changes in ownership, new construction and changes in value from the previous January 1.
Commercial and residential properties make up the secured tax roll, which is 95 percent of the tax-roll total. Five percent of the roll is unsecured, and is made up of business and personal property and leased government property.
Property tax, which is shared among government agencies and special districts in the county, is approximately 1 percent of the county's assessed value, or $1.91 billion. Mr. Church said about 45 percent of that property tax goes to schools, 22 percent to the county, 17 percent to cities, 9 percent to special districts and 7 percent to former redevelopment agencies.
Menlo Park now has the fourth highest assessed property value in San Mateo County, at $15.06 billion. Ahead of Menlo Park in value are South San Francisco ($16.4 billion), Redwood City ($20.6 billion) and San Mateo ($22.6 billion).
Mr. Church said the county's strong economy has several factors that are expected to continue, including low unemployment, a strong real estate market and substantial new commercial development.
"Once again, San Mateo (County) has proven to be one of the strongest real estate markets in the state, with substantial increases in real estate values throughout the county," said Mr. Church.
He said the county's median home price was $1.3 million in April, according to the California Association of Realtors; that's the second-highest in the state after San Francisco County.
The county's 3 percent unemployment rate has been the lowest in the state for two years in a row, he said, which helps drive demand for housing and commercial space.
Mr. Church said the county has 2 million square feet of new commercial projects that are 80,000 square feet or larger coming to market in 2016, "with many more projects under way or nearing completion."
Growth is expected to continue in the county, he said, with approximately 33 million square feet of commercial development in the pipeline, based on current construction and pending permits.
One thing that factored less than usual in the rise in assessed values was the annual increase allowed on properties that do not change hands or have new construction. While the maximum amount of the annual increase in assessed value for such properties is 2 percent, for 2015, the increase was only 1.01 percent, the amount the California Consumer Price Index rose in that year.