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San Diego County Assessor Ernie Dronenburg announced last week that the value of all taxable property in San Diego was up 0.51 percent, or about $2 billion. The value on the county tax roll now sits at $395.7 billion, and will net around $3.9 billion, based on a 1 percent tax rate. This year is the first to see an increase in the tax rolls since 2008.

“We are cautiously optimistic that we are at or very close to the bottom of the residential market and believe that next year’s values should be up or at least flat,” said Dronenburg. He cited three factors in the tax roll growth – fewer people who bought at inflated prices are requesting reductions in their assessment, reassessment due to sales or construction, and an increase in assessed values as allowed by Prop 13.

The numbers, however, indicate that the Prop 13 bump is really the only contributing factor. Under the law, property can be re-assessed at a value no higher than 2 percent above the previous year, unless it’s sold or major improvements are made. This year’s increase was 0.753 percent, marking one of the few years the 2 percent cap wasn’t reached. Last year it was negative for the first time, with assessments dropping 0.237 percent.

The quarter-percent difference between the base assessment increase and the actual rise in value was the result of several thousand challenges that resulted in reductions to individual property assessed values and resale of property for less than the price at which it was purchased.

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