Most property owners in Pierce County will soon learn that the taxable value of their land is going down, and how much.
On Friday, the county assessor-treasurer will begin mailing notices detailing the assessed valuation of most residential and commercial property. The property taxes for 2013 that will be calculated later this year will be based on the valuations.
The assesor-treasurer office reported last week that 95 percent of the notices will show a reduction in value from 2011. A spokeswoman said the 2012 values reflect the continued weakness of the real estate market, and an accelerating decline across the board for all residential property.
The average residential property value has fallen 11.9 percent from the year before, while commercial properties saw their average values decline by 3.9 percent.
Over the past four years, the average value of residential property in Pierce County has dropped from $277,674 in 2008 to $191,402 as of January of this year, a decline of more than 31 percent.
Among individual communities, the changes in assessed valuations on single-family homes include: • A 15.7 percent decline in the town of Eatonville, from $148,388 to $123,305. •Decreases of 14.4 percent in the Bethel School District and 13.9 percent in the Eatonville School District.
• 9.9 percent in the Graham Fire and Rescue District and 12.5 percent in Fire District 23 in the Ashford area.
The average assessed valuations in the Graham and Ashford fire districts are now $174,326 and $88,743, respectively. In the Bethel and Eatonville school districts, average valuations are now down to $161,864 and $151,566.
That trend of declining valuations includes differences among neighborhoods, assessor-treasurer officials said. For example, the appraisal area around the communities of DuPont, Steilacoom and Chambers Bay has experienced the lowest drop in values at less than 25 percent, while the east end of Tacoma, along Pacific Avenue, has seen its values decline by more than 38 percent during the same time period, assessor-treasurer officials said.
Commercial property values peaked a year later than their residential counterparts and have fared slightly
better. Since 2009, the average commercial value in the county has declined by approximately $233,000, for a 20 percent loss of value.
An annual revaluation report, which includes year-to-year value comparisons, average values by school and fire district and in cities and towns, and other information is available at the assessor-treasurer’s web site at http://www.co.pierce.wa.us/pc/abtus/ourorg/at/Reports.htm
Assessor-Treasurer Dale Washam said Pierce County appraises all property on a six-year revaluation schedule, as mandated by state law. One-sixth of the county is physically inspected every year, while the values for the remaining five-sixths are statistically trended, based on market indicators. At the May 31, 2012 conclusion of year five of the six-year revaluation schedule, appraisers had physically inspected 259,665 properties – about 80 percent of the taxable land countywide, according to Washam.
For landowners who aren’t happy with their valuations and taxes, the final day for filing a property tax appeal is 60 days from the mailing date on the valuation notices. Information on appeals is on the back of the notices and from the Pierce County Board of Equalization at 253-798-7415.