Property Values Up in LA County, Real Estate Recovery Underway, Assessor Says

Taken together, property in the county has finally regained its pre-crash value, the Los Angeles Office of Assessor said Monday.

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    Property values in Los Angeles County have risen for the second year in a row, jumping by as much as 6.5 percent in affluent areas, the county’s tax assessor said Monday.

    The increase is good news for beleaguered cities, many of which will take in considerably more in property tax revenues than prior years.

    It will also come as a relief to homeowners, who continue to be slammed by the rough economy and deep drops in the value of their biggest assets.

    Los Angeles, where values jumped by an average of 2.5 percent, will take in an extra $110 million in taxes, said Louis Reyes, spokesman for the Los Angeles County office of the assessor.

    “It’s great news,” said Reyes, whose office released its annual report on the value of L.A. County property on Monday. “We are slowly recovering.”

    The increase in overall value for property tax reasons does not mean that houses are selling at the inflated prices they commanded during the housing bubble, experts said.

    Indeed, some of the rise in assessed value came from homes bought for very little years ago, whose value for tax purposes rises very slowly under California's landmark Proposition 13 tax law.

    Still, taken together with an increase in the number of homes that are selling in the region each month – and the prices of those homes – the assessment report shows that real estate is making a recovery, said Jordan G. Levine, director of economic research at Beacon Economics in Los Angeles.

    “The pace of the improvement isn’t really anything to write home about,” Levine said. “But it’s two years of consistent improvement.”

    Overall in Los Angeles County, property values rose 2.25 percent from January of 2011 to January of 2012, the report showed. The total value of real estate in the county hit $1.131 trillion in January, up from $1.106 trillion in 2011.

    The assessments show that, taken together, the property in the county has gained back the value lost in the real estate crash that began in 2007, Reyes said.

    Not surprisingly, the biggest jumps in value came in wealthier areas.

    Beverly Hills, had the biggest increase with a boost in values of 6.5 percent. Next was Rolling Hills, where values jumped by 6 percent.

    Values in Monterey Park were up 4.7 percent, according to the report, and in La Canada Flintridge, assessments were up by 4 percent.

    Some areas did continue to decline, however.

    Values in Lancaster dropped by 1.2 percent, and in Palmdale they were also down, by 0.6 percent.

    Some affluent areas also lost value, among them Westlake Village and Hidden Hills.

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