Marin home values sink


Trouble in Paradise?

Inquiring minds are noticing how more and more upscale areas are rolling over and sinking. From a Marin International Journal’s article on the popping of their local real estate bubble:

The county assessor has reduced the value of 21 percent of Marin’s residential properties in the biggest reassessment purge since Proposition 13.

Assessor Joan Thayer, citing declining values in a deflated real estate market, has reduced the assessed valuation of 16,408 parcels.

That value reduction, combined with an inflation factor applied under Proposition 13 that was “slightly negative” for the first time this year, cut $670 million from Marin’s 2010-11 assessment roll, she noted.

“This is the worst situation our office has had since the Depression,” Thayer declared.

“We have a negative inflation factor, declining sales and values, foreclosed properties and lower house prices,” added Thayer, who retires in December after a 16-year tenure. “It’s been miserable.”

Last year, 12,612 of Marin’s 75,000 residential properties declined in value, up from 2,957 the year before that – and from 507 in 2007-08.

About 12,000 of the properties declining in value this year were targeted for reductions by the assessor’s staff, while another 4,000 were reduced after property owners called to ask for an informal review, according to Assistant Assessor Richard Benson.

Benson said that while in recent years many properties with declining values were clustered in San Rafael, Novato and Northern Marin, this year’s reductions are “spread all over the county,” with higher-end homes in Southern Marin joining the mix.

Not that this is a hasn’t happened before:

It’s the biggest revaluation of Marin property since 1978, when tax-slashing Proposition 13 was approved. Otherwise, “we’ve never had a negative roll” that reduced valuation, Benson observed.

And the music plays on…

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