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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, May 30, 2014
Contact:
Assessor, Steven J. Drew 360-867-2200

Revaluation Notices Reveal New Property Values for 2015 Taxes
Notices in the mail May 30

OLYMPIA - When new assessment notices are mailed on Friday, May 30, 2014, it will mark the 3rd year in a row that assessment notices have been mailed on time. This will allow taxpayers to see their new assessed values much closer to the January 1, 2014 assessment date, reducing confusion between the assessed value and the effects of recent market activity.

Market analysis by appraisers within the Assessor's Office indicates the overall real estate market began improving during 2012 and continued to improve throughout 2014. This improvement in the market is reflected in most of the assessment notices that will arrive in mailboxes this weekend or early next week. The new assessment notices will identify value assessments as of January 1, 2014 for taxes to be billed in 2015. The 2014 assessment notices continue to include three years of values to offer a better understanding of how the current and past market has affected property values. The 2014 assessed value of real property countywide is $25.561 billion, reflects an overall increase of $1.439 billion. This change in value includes $164 million in New Construction added to the 2014 assessment roll so far. The total value of New Construction for 2014 will be tabulated in August; assessment notices for New Construction will be mailed on August 29, 2014. During 2013, $301 million in New Construction was added to the Thurston County assessment roll.

Median values countywide for residential property types increased 6.36% from January 2013 to January 2014. During the previous year, assessed values increased 4.73%. This is the second year in the past five that overall countywide residential property values increased. This is also the second year that commercial property values increased, but at a more modest rate.

The real estate market shows signs of improvement, in terms of the number of permits issued, overall value increases and the number of sales transactions. The median assessed value for a single family residence as of January 2014 rose to $210,200, up from $195,200 the previous year. These numbers represent a 7.7% increase.

Residential properties located in the Lake St.Clair and Yelm areas received their required six-year physical inspection. Their new values represent changes in property characteristics that were updated during the inspection. Commercial properties inspected include manufactured home parks and other miscellaneous property types. A physical inspection can result in significant value changes, depending on changes in property characteristics that are found at the time of the inspection.

Annual Appraisal: Each year appraisers review and update all assessments, so properties reflect their market value as of January 1. Market value is defined as the price a typical, informed buyer would pay a typical, knowledgeable seller for a property as of a given date with neither party being under pressure to buy or sell. Appraisers analyze property sales to measure trends and identify factors that influence values and ultimately determine new values for properties in the area.

Many forces such as location, size, quality, condition, and age influence property values. In addition, general economic conditions such as interest rates, inflation, construction costs, supply and demand, and changes in zoning, subdivisions, and tax laws all influence the value of real estate. We continuously monitor and analyze the market throughout the county to stay current with market trends. Each year, market research and analysis is used to ensure new assessed values reflect value changes in the market place. Changes in the market place occurring now will appear in the 2015 assessment year for property taxes due in 2016.

While your property value affects your share of taxes, the actual amount you pay is determined by tax rates based on the budget requests of the schools, cities, county, fire districts, port, roads, and other taxing districts. Revaluation ensures that the distribution of property taxes is fair and impartial. Countywide property tax increases or decreases are directly related to the actions of voters and/or taxing district budget requests.

Three factors generally influence how much tax is due on a particular property:

1.Assessed value of an individual property
2.Total assessed value of all property in a taxing district, e.g., city, school, port
3.Budget of the taxing district

Taxing districts may ask voters to approve levy lifts, maintenance and operation levies, or other special projects that would raise more revenue through property taxes. When voters in the Olympia School District approve a special school levy that increases taxes, only residents in the Olympia School District will be impacted by that tax increase. For the past several years, voter-approved levies accounted for approximately 44 percent of the property taxes.

The Thurston County Assessor's Office is available to serve customers by phone, in person, and online. The office is open for customers from 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM, Monday - Friday. Online access is available to assist customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Go to www.co.thurston.wa.us/assessor for information on property assessment and property taxation. By selecting the Assessor's Parcel Search (A+) system, you can research data on property and land values, building characteristics, and sales. The A+ system also provides a detailed breakdown and explanation of how each residential property value was determined based on its property characteristics. Look for the "Value Report" tab.

This year the A+ system includes all of the sales in your residential neighborhood. Look for the "Sales" tab. Sales that have been used to determine your most recent assessed value are marked "Yes". Also of interest is an ownership history on the A+ system under the "Owner History" tab.

The Assessor encourages anyone who has questions about their valuation to visit or call our office at the number listed on your notification. At the Assessors request, the Thurston County Board of Commissioners extended the period for filing an appeal from 30 to 60 days in the interest of giving taxpayers more time to resolve value-related questions with the Assessor's Office. We encourage direct contact with our office during the 60-day appeal period. If a resolution cannot be reached, an appeal can be filed with the Board of Equalization. Property appeals must be filed with the Board of Equalization by July 29, 2014. Appeal petitions and instructions are available from the Board's website (www.co.thurston.wa.us/boe). They are also available by contacting the Clerk of the Board at (360) 786-5135 or by email at elderr@co.thurston.wa.us.



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County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3