Tax hikes to join booming property values in East King County

Property values in select cities in East King County have skyrocketed, leading King County Assessor John Wilson to warn homeowners about noticeable increases in property taxes.

“When I saw the initial numbers, it was frankly just breathtaking, you know? And I actually told our team, are you sure? Go back and crunch them again,” Wilson said on the Gee and Ursula Show on KIRO Newsradio. “And no, it’s unprecedented. And the amazing thing, this time, is it’s not just here in King County. We’re higher and it’s more extreme here, but I talked to other assessors around the state. It’s happening all over.”

Home values have increased by 52% in the Sammamish Plateau, approximately 45% in Redmond, Bellevue, and Kirkland, and north of 30% in Bothell, Kenmore, and North Bend.

“Elsewhere around the county, you’ve got in the city of Seattle, things are up just under 20%, Mercer Island 36%. Federal Way 26% It’s all over the place,” Wilson said.

While the potential tax increase won’t mirror the land property value jump exactly, Wilson believes homeowners should expect a double-digit increase.

“Washington’s one of only about 10 states that doesn’t have a so-called homestead exemption, where you give a percentage of value right off the top to homeowners,” Wilson said. “We need that and we need it now.

“Now, it’s probably going to require a fairly heavy lift in Olympia to have a constitutional amendment to do it,” Wilson continued. “But it’s time we step up and look at how we restructure our property taxes and our dependency on it and give everyday homeowners a little bit of a break on their property taxes.”

There’s concern about whether the appraised values will go up as high as the market values, or if there is a system in place to put a cap on the appraisals.

“Washington state is one of the states that has a budget-based property tax system. It floats depending on what the property values are,” Wilson said. “The other thing we have to remember is that there’s a 1% cap on revenue on property growth on property taxes. It can only be modified by the vote of the people.”

Because Washington State does not have an income tax, Wilson believes using the median value of a home in the county could be some kind of a threshold marker.


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