If you live in Seattle, you are about to have an unpleasant trip to your mailbox.
King County is sending out 2011 property tax notices. There is not good news waiting for you inside the envelope.
That’s because the County is moving forward with an 8% property tax increase in Seattle for 2011.
There are a lot of reasons for this increase. Very few of them will sit well with homeowners in King County.
For starters, Seattle experienced a curious increase in average assessed home values for 2011. Values increased from $448,500 to $453,300 – a situation that makes little sense in a real estate market still absorbing numerous short sales and foreclosures. This unusual increase in assessed values is one of many reasons that King County property taxes are increasing in a market where most home values continue to decline.
Another factor driving up Seattle property taxes are two measures approved by voters last year for school levies and construction bonds.
The 8% increase on a Seattle home with an average home value of $453,300 will result in a $324 increase in annual property taxes – bringing the total bill on an average home to $4,379.
Even if Seattle voters don’t approve special levies, the State of Washington has a “budget based” tax system that allows government entities to increase the amount of property tax collected without voter approval by 1% year. This system perpetuates an environment where government officials see little need to control spending because tax rates can be adjusted to balance the budget.
Annual tinkering with tax rates in Seattle and the rest of King County supports an ongoing annual taxpayer experience where property taxes seem to go up regardless of what is currently happening with home resale values.
If you live in Seattle, don’t participate in this annual shell game. Use ValueAppeal to keep your King County property taxes as low as possible.
For more (county) property tax information, click here.