If you own a single-family home in Somerville—and about 2,361 of you do—the assessed value of your home is likely going up, according to Marc Levye, Somerville's chief assessor.
Levye spoke to the Somerville Board of Aldermen on Nov. 20 about property taxes for fiscal-year 2013.
"Generally speaking, citywide, folks that own a single-family home are going to see a valuation increase. That is across the board," Levye said.
One of the reasons is that tax assessors, when valuing properties, take into consideration sale prices over previous years, Levye explained. In recent years, those records included home sales from 2009, which was a low point in the real estate market. However, "Calendar [year] '09 is no longer in the time period that we're looking at," Levye said.
There was a steep increase in sale prices from 2009 to 2010, according to Levye's presentation. The average sale price of a Somerville single-family home was $441,800 in 2009 and $539,100 in 2010—a 22 percent increase. That's getting reflected in assessments.
The long and short of it is that the average single-family homeowner in Somerville will see a property-tax increase of $253 per year.
Number of condos increasing
Every year Somerville adds condos to its tax rolls, often when developers convert apartment buildings to condominiums, but the city is expecting even more condos in the upcoming fiscal year, according to Levye's presentation.
Somerville added 121 condos to its tax rolls in fiscal-year 2012 and 120 in fiscal-year 2013, but "we're poised to add 184 more condo units" in fiscal-year 2014, Levye said.
"The evidence is clear that developers again have confidence in the market. They're starting to make the conversions," he said.
That increase still doesn't compare to fiscal-years from the past decade, when even more condos were being created in Somerville. In fiscal-year 2008, 286 were added, and 275 were added in fiscal-year 2009.
"I don't know if we'll see quite the boom we had going back five years ago," Levye said in regard to the increase in condo development.
Looking at the increase in condo conversions and the rise in assessed home values—"homeowners again feel it's time to make renovations," Levye said—the city's chief tax assessor commented, "The recovery is well under way."
The tax rate for fiscal-year 2013 is $13.42 per $1000 of a property's assessed value, according to the presentation. In fiscal-year 2012 it was $13.09, and in fiscal-year 2011 it was $12.71.
The residential exemption, for those who live in the Somerville homes they own, will diminish one's tax bill by $1,885.97.
Taking that into consideration, homeowners will see increases to their annual tax bills as follows:
- Average condo: $63 increase
- Average single-family home: $253 increase
- Average two-family home: $288 increase
- Average three-family home: $241 increase