SEATTLE - Lloyd Hara sees King County differently than most. He’s the guy who sends you those notices every year, with a whole bunch of numbers.
“That’s true. I’m a numbers guy,” said Hara with a smile as he spent Tuesday reviewing the status of King County property values.
“For the most part, everything is booming,” said Hara, who has held the post since 2009 and has already begun sending out property value assessments for 2014, which will be the basis for the 2015 property tax.
He says of the 86 neighborhoods in the county, “almost 100 percent” will have an increase.
That will continue a trend in King County, which started more than a year ago, according to Hara.
In 2013, the Median Assessed Value, or MAV, was $348,000. Property taxes for a median home were $3,657.45. In 2014, the MAV shot up to $382,000, and along with it the taxes at $3,931.42. Seventy-six of 86 neighborhoods saw a value spike.
Hara’s office says many neighborhoods will see value increases in the double digits this year. Federal Way’s Panther Lake has already received notice that values will jump 26%. Auburn’s West Hill is at 23.7%. Seattle’s Rainier Beach is at 25.7%, according to numbers furnished by the King County Assessor’s Office.
“I wish it weren’t shooting it up quite as fast, but on the other hand, it’s a good thing homeowners now have greater equity than their home loan value,” said Hara, who makes his calculations based on housing sales and other factors.
But it also means many homeowners, including those in Seattle, will likely see a property tax increase. Hara calls school levies “very significant” for the tax ratio.
Bobby Nichols grew up in Rainier Beach and says the news is good for homeowners who have been underwater on their mortgage. But he also admits the new values will affect his reasoning on voting for property tax increases, like the one recently suggested in an initiative campaign to save Metro.
“If it comes to a school levy, without a doubt, I’ll vote for it,” said Nichols. “Education is a big one for me; as far as transportation, it’s okay.”
Hara stresses that the complex tax code could mean that some homeowners will actually see a rate decrease.
“(Just because a) property value goes up 25 percent, your tax will not go up 25 percent,” he said.
Homeowners will continue to receive notices through October and Hara says they will receive a right to appeal the decision on the property values.
Property owners can look up information on their property at King County website and use the eReal Property Search.