The Seattle area has a long history of high property taxes. In recent years, however, the rate of increase in property taxes has accelerated. This is due to a number of factors, including rising home values, new laws that have made it easier for governments to raise taxes, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the main drivers of rising property taxes is the rapid increase in home values in the Seattle area. In the past five years, the median home price in King County has increased by more than 50%. This has led to a corresponding increase in the amount of property tax revenue that governments collect.
Tax Levy Laws on Washington Real Estate
Another factor that has contributed to the increase in property taxes is the passage of new laws that have made it easier for governments to raise taxes. In 2016, voters approved a ballot measure that capped the state’s property tax levy lid at 1%. This means that governments can only increase property taxes by 1% per year, unless they get voter approval. However, there are a number of exceptions to this rule, and governments have been using these exceptions to raise property taxes by more than 1% per year.
The COVID-19 Pandemic‘s Impact on Property Taxes
COVID has also had an impact on property taxes. The pandemic has led to a decline in tax revenue for many businesses, which has forced some governments to raise property taxes in order to make up for the shortfall.
The increase in property taxes has had a significant impact on homeowners and businesses in the Seattle area. For homeowners, the increase in property taxes has made it more difficult to afford their homes. In some cases, homeowners have been forced to sell their homes because they can no longer afford the property taxes.
For businesses, the increase in property taxes has made it more expensive to operate in the Seattle area. This has led some businesses to leave the region or to reduce their operations.
The Future of Property Taxes
As property values continue to rise across the United States, many homeowners are feeling the squeeze when it comes to property taxes. In the Seattle area, property tax hikes have been a hot topic in recent years, with many residents feeling like they are being unfairly burdened by ever-increasing bills.
But if you think Seattle’s property tax rates are high, you might be surprised to learn that they are actually lower than many other cities in the region. In fact, one nearby city is experiencing even faster property tax increases than Seattle: Bellingham.
According to data from the Washington State Department of Revenue, Bellingham’s property tax rate increased by a whopping 16.4% in 2020. This is significantly higher than Seattle’s 4.6% increase over the same period.
Why is Bellingham experiencing such a steep increase in property taxes? One factor is the city’s rapid growth and development. As more people move to Bellingham and demand for housing increases, property values rise along with them. This, in turn, leads to higher property tax rates to support local services and infrastructure.
Another factor is the state’s education funding system. In 2018, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that the state’s system for funding public schools was unconstitutional, as it relied too heavily on local property taxes. In response, the state implemented a new funding model that increased state property tax rates while capping local levies. This change has resulted in higher property taxes for many homeowners across the state, including those in Bellingham.
So, what does this mean for Bellingham residents? For those who own property in the city, it means that their tax bills will continue to increase as property values rise and the state’s education funding system remains in place. However, it’s worth noting that Bellingham’s property tax rates are still lower than many other cities in the region, including Seattle.
Ultimately, the issue of property tax hikes is a complex one that is impacted by a wide range of factors, including economic growth, government policies, and local demand for services. While it can be frustrating for homeowners to see their tax bills rise year after year, it’s important to understand the larger context in which these increases are occurring.