Increased assessed values in County

  Property values are on the rise in Tulare County, a phrase not spoken in five years. Tulare County Assessor Roland Hill reported Tuesday that the total value of all property - secured and unsecured - in the county reached an all-time high last year, topping out at a net value of $27.415 billion. The previous high of $27.258 billion was set in 2008-09.Property values grew by 2.987 percent in the past year, the best growth in five years.“We have to go back to 2008-09,” said Hill of the last time property values grew by as much. Since 2008-09, several times property values actually declined.“It was right after that [2008], that the bottom fell out,” he noted.Property values are an important indicator of the local economy. 

  As the recession took hold, property values at all levels declined. Home prices plummeted and even commercial and industrial land values dropped.Roland Hill noted that not only are home sales on the rise, but there is more construction activity in the county.Porterville has seen a jump in building permits, including a new AM/PM gas station, a Social Vocational Services facility and several remodels.“There’s more construction, more sales activity,” agreed Hill.Under a state proposition, the county must reassess property values if the value drops below what the property sold for and that meant thousands of properties in the county saw their value reassessed at less. Along with a severe drop in new construction, that helped to lower the overall assessed value.Today, the trend is reversing, although Hill said the area will probably never see a return to the escalating prices of 2003 through 2007.In 2006-07, the value of all property in the county rose 14.246 percent, the most in the last eight years.“We’ve got more than 45,000 parcels in review,” said Hill of those being looked at to see if the owner is entitled to a break on their property bill.However, the number of adjustments is dwindling.“The values have improved, especially in the lower value properties,” he said. “It’s a much different market, a much healthier market,” he added.Home values have been rising for a while, but have begun the past few months to rise at a higher rate. The median price of a home in Porterville was up 2.68 percent in April, but county-wide, home prices were up nearly 10 percent. Property taxes are also key to local governments as the main revenue source for some smaller districts, such as memorial districts. Of the property taxes collected, 1 percent comes back to the county and is then divided, with the county getting 14.7 percent and cities 5.8 percent. Porterville has budgeted property tax income for next year at $2.275 million, a slight increase of what the city expects to receive this year. However, the city may actually see slightly more revenue. Property values rose 3.237 percent in the city last year.“You bet it’s good news. It is an increase in the general fund revenue. Those are discretionary funds not earmarked for some special program,” said Hill.

Big Jump The 2.987 percentage increase seems a like a lot when compared to the past four years. Three times the county’s property value dropped and the only time there was positive growth was just 0.214 percent in 2012-11.That lack of growth was in spite of the 2 percent increase allowed by law the county can increase property values. However, at least once in the past four years, even that did not occur.

Local News Media: Increased assessed values in County