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Island valuations up 15-19 percent, assessor says

Property tax increases will depend on exemptions, voter-approved hikes.

By DOUGLAS CRIST and CHARLIE BERMANT

Staff Writers

Island home valuations are up 15-19 percent, the Kitsap County assessor says, following a 20 percent increase the year before.

Valuations in all non-waterfront island neighborhoods shot up 15 percent, while waterfront parcels were valued at 19 percent over 2005.

The average valuation increase elsewhere in Kitsap County was 20 percent, compared to an average 25 percent hike the year before.

But while island homeowners will see a larger property tax bill in February 2007, the increase will not directly correlate to the increase in property value.

“In some cases the money collected by the county would actually decrease,” said Kitsap County Assessor Jim Avery. “But the tax bill will be higher because of the levies approved by the voters.”

Earlier this year, Bainbridge voters approved a $45 million construction school bond and a four-year, $6.1 million technology levy, for assesment beginning in 2007. Also, a previously approved school operations levy will be 6 percent higher next year.

For five-sixths of the county, the yearly reassessment is based on formulas developed from real estate sales, using comparative data of homes sold in each specific neighborhood.

An individual home’s assessment increase is based on the increase of other homes that sold in that neighborhood over the past year.

For the remaining one-sixth, the Assessor’s Office makes on-site visits to determine the increase (or decrease) in value of a specific property.

An extra deck or bedroom will drastically increase value, while a significant loss of view brought about by vegetation or the deterioration of a structure can send the valuation in the other direction.

Countywide revaluations ranged from a high of 41 percent on the Lofall waterfront on Hood Canal, to just 8 percent on the Indianola waterfront in North Kitsap.

On Bainbridge Island, the new valuations were based on 496 recorded home sales last year, out of 8,638 improved residential parcels. Local home prices hit record highs, following region-wide real estate trends.

The sales price of homes in a given area are among the factors that lead to a “global adjustment” in valuation throughout that neighborhood.

Valuations are then used to calculate how much property tax a homeowner must pay.

Seniors age 61 and older and those disabled from gainful employment may qualify for significant property tax relief if they live in their own home and make less than $35,000 annually.

Property owners who do not receive a notice of valuation or who need more information should call the assessor at (360) 337-4904.

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