Business & Real Estate

County assessment roll reaches $450 billion

Santa Clara Santa Clara County Assessor Larry Stone reported that the annual assessment roll reached $450 billion, a 7.37 percent increase over the previous year.

The assessment roll reflects the total net assessed value of all real and business property in the county as of Jan. 1.

The growth in the assessment roll this year is due primarily to significant new construction, changes in ownership, growth in business property, the 2 percent increase pursuant to Proposition 13 and value restorations of properties that previously received a temporary reduction (Proposition 8). The assessment roll also contains the value of business personal property.

“Silicon Valley’s real estate economy is stabilizing,” Stone said. “Santa Clara County has had six consecutive years of job gains, reaching a 4.1 percent rate of growth – better than the Bay Area overall at 3.3 percent, and the state at … 2.6 percent.”

In 2016, Stone said, layoffs by technology companies surged 21 percent, contributing to a flattening of the rate of growth in assessed values year-over-year. Nevertheless, he added, Silicon Valley has experienced more than six years of positive office development and leasing.

“Even better,” Stone said, “the current economic cycle is nothing like the dot-com boom in the late 1990s, in which real estate development was largely speculative. … Tenants leased more space than they needed, expecting growth that never occurred. Today, well-established companies like Google, Apple and Samsung with real earnings and profits, are acquiring land and buildings, favoring ownership over long-term leases.”

Similarly, in 2016, the residential sector, both multifamily and single family, continued to perform strongly. Homes were staying on the market longer, and multiple offers and sales above the asking price were declining. Yet in the second quarter, home prices and sales surged again, up 115 percent from a year earlier.

The major beneficiaries of property-tax revenue are California’s public schools and community colleges. Fifty-one percent of local property-tax revenue generated in Santa Clara County goes to fund public education.

Assessment reviews

The Assessor’s Office mailed the annual assessment notice to 488,292 property owners reporting each property’s 2017-2018 assessed value. The notice serves as the basis for the property tax bill mailed in the fall.

Property owners who disagree with the assessed value printed on their notice are encouraged to take advantage of an online tool enabling property owners to review the sale of comparable properties the assessor used to determine their assessment. An interactive service modeled after online banking, the “opt-in tool” enables taxpayers to securely receive assessment notices and connect with the Assessor’s Office electronically rather than by mail, telephone or in person.

Property owners who can demonstrate that their assessed value is higher than the market value of their property can request an informal review of their assessment. The annual notice outlines the process for filing a formal assessment appeal by the Sept. 15 deadline. There is no longer a fee to file an assessment appeal.

“Property owners who disagree with the assessed value should not wait for the tax bill before filing an appeal, as the tax bill is mailed by the tax collector after the assessment appeal filing deadline,” Stone said.

For more information, call (408) 299-5088 or visit

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