Property values in King Co. are down substantially following last year’s peak
Residential values corrected downward from all-time highs while commercial office space values dropped significantly
The annual process of property valuation in King Co. for taxation purposes is underway, with initial results showing 2023 property values continued to be affected by the lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. After reaching all-time highs in the second quarter of 2022, residential property values are correcting downwards throughout King Co. in 2023. At the same time, the values of commercial office buildings fell by 15% to 20%, reflecting the impact of a transition to less office work activity.
“COVID changed our lives, and it continues to impact the real estate market,“ said King County Assessor John Wilson. “In 2021 and 2022, residential prices and values went through the roof due to a major imbalance between supply and demand. The housing market is still healthy in King County, but it cooled considerably in 2023, bringing values down.”
Regarding commercial values, Wilson said, “Generally, the commercial market has remained steady in recent years. But in 2023, we are seeing a significant drop in the value of large office spaces, presumably due to the shift away from in-office work. COVID has changed how and where many of us work, which now shows up in property values.”
“Finally, it is always important to remember that voter-approved special levies usually have more impact on property tax increases than do increases in home values,” added Wilson.
The valuation process is still underway, but most residential market areas in King County will see reductions on average, with the most significant decreases coming on the east side of Lake Washington. The Sammamish plateau will see values decrease upwards of 22% on average. This contrasts with the 8% average reduction in the Queen Anne Neighborhood.
Each year, the law requires County Assessors to appraise every commercial and residential parcel across Washington. These values – set effective as of January 1 of the assessment year – are used to calculate property taxes due next year, in this case, 2024.
Notices of the new valuations will be arriving in King County neighborhoods on a rolling basis for the next several months. They will reflect the value of properties as of January 1, 2023.
By state law, King County adjusts property values annually to reflect market sales. All 720,000-plus King County residential and commercial property owners receive an annual value update. Because of that volume, the Department of Assessments (DOA) releases value notices in stages, starting in the spring, continuing through the summer and generally wrapping up around Labor Day.
Receipt of the value notice triggers a 60-day window when a property owner can appeal their new value, but not specifically the taxes. It’s important to note that increased values don’t directly relate to potential tax increases. Property tax collection amounts are set yearly by taxing districts around the county, not the King County Department of Assessments.
To learn more about how property values and taxes are determined, the appeal process, the senior exemption or to use the taxpayer transparency tool, please visit https://kingcounty.gov/depts/assessor.aspx.
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