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Property tax hike likely after 'unprecedented' increase in Eastside home values

Home values have increased by 52% in the Sammamish Plateau, roughly 45% in Redmond, Bellevue and Kirkland, and more than 30% in Bothell, Kenmore and North Bend.

KING COUNTY, Wash. — Property values in east King County rose dramatically in 2022, according to King County Assessor John Wilson.

Wilson is now pushing state lawmakers to make changes that could provide relief to some property taxpayers.

“Housing inventory for sale remains low, while demand remains very high,” said Wilson. “The resulting increase in home values is inevitable, and that trend is particularly strong on the eastside.”

As of Jan. 1, home prices are up 52% on the Sammamish Plateau, roughly 45% in places like Kirkland, Redmond and Bellevue, and higher than 30% in Bothell, Kenmore, North Bend and Fall City.

“What we're seeing, frankly, are unprecedented numbers," said Wilson.

Now, Wilson is warning homeowners that noticeable increases in property taxes could follow the spike in home values. How exactly taxes will be impacted will depend on different jurisdictions and the types of taxes on any one property.

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Wilson is now saying the price boom gives weight to a restructuring of the property tax code.

“We're in the process of talking to a variety of legislators right now about the possibility of putting forward some kind of homeowner relief package,” said Wilson. "It would require probably a constitutional amendment, but we feel really strongly that we need to do something to provide some property tax relief that doesn't damage key services from education, fire, health, that property taxes go for."

Preliminary numbers show homes worth $1.5 million or less would see a tax reduction, but homes with prices higher than that would see a slight increase.

“And when you're, you know, off into Bezos and Gates land, it's probably a little over [$50,000] more a year," said Wilson.

Lending Tree lists Washington state as one of the few states without a homestead exemption, which is what Wilson is suggesting. However, that may not gain traction until the next legislative session, well after the new property tax bills come in the mail.