Los Angeles Business Journal

L.A. Property Values Making a Comeback

By Howard Fine Originally published July 19, 2012 at 2:50 p.m., updated July 20, 2012 at 10:43 a.m.

In another sign of recovery in the local real estate market, property values in Los Angeles County rose more than 2 percent last year, the county Assessor’s office announced Thursday.

The assessment roll rose $21 billion, or 2.2 percent, during the 2011 calendar year, to $1.08 trillion as of Jan. 1, according to figures released from the Assessor’s office.

This is the second annual increase in the county assessment roll since the real estate downturn ended and was good news for cash-strapped local governments. Under Proposition 13, property owners pay 1 percent of the assessed valuation in property taxes, which is then divided among local governments and school districts. Last year, the roll grew 1.36 percent.

“The 2.2 percent net increase is great news for all Los Angeles County residents since it means an increase in revenues for local governments and schools,” said Chief Deputy Assessor Santos Kreimann, in a prepared statement.

The biggest factor behind the increase was the annual 2 percent inflation adjustment that’s applied under Proposition 13 to properties that didn’t change ownership last year, Kreimann said. That resulted in an additional $15 billion for the assessment roll.

The other substantial factor was the raising to current market value of properties that changed ownership last year, adding about $12 billion. There was also about $5 billion worth of new construction throughout the county.

Kreimann said these gains were somewhat offset by the granting of reduced valuations for roughly 365,000 residential and commercial properties, a process allowed under Proposition 8.

The assessor’s office has been plagued by scandal in recent months as Assessor John Noguez and several of his top deputies have gone on administrative leave amid allegations that they sharply reduced valuations for property owners who contributed to his campaign fund.