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West Seattle homeowners worry bridge closure will hurt property values

A real estate broker said he’s already seeing changes. Homeowners want to know how the closure will impact their property values.

SEATTLE — West Seattle homeowners want to know how the indefinite closure of the West Seattle Bridge is impacting their property values. One real estate broker said he’s already seeing some changes.

“A lot of first-time homebuyers especially have shifted their focus to other places,” said Kevin Broveleit, managing broker with West Seattle Realty.

He has been watching closely to see how the bridge closure is affecting home sales and property values.

“I think the uncertainty around the bridge has caused some panic. It's caused some people to move up their plans to maybe sell in the future because they don't know what the future holds,” Broveleit said.

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He said there's still a decent amount of buying and selling, just not the escalating prices he normally sees each spring.

During recent virtual town hall meetings on the bridge closure, some homeowners said they think their next property tax bills should reflect the possibility that their houses may have lost value.

“If it's a long-term (bridge) closure, it probably does have some downward pressure on real estate values,” said John Wilson, King County Assessor.

His office decides what homeowners' property tax bills will be, and he said the closure of a major bridge can have an impact.

But Wilson said his office needs more time to measure the changes, in part because of the broad economic impacts of the coronavirus.

“It's trickier because you can't figure out, well, is this the bridge, or is this the pandemic?” he said.

Wilson said the county is delaying sending out notices telling homeowners how their property values have changed. They're waiting until June so they can gather data and see if people really are looking to buy someplace else.

Homeowners who think their property taxes are too high can appeal to the county after they receive their revaluation notices.

Wilson said his office is looking into options for providing tax relief for commercial property owners in West Seattle, who are dealing with the impacts of the economic shutdown and the bridge closure.

“There’s nothing on the books that says do this if there’s a pandemic that becomes an economic crisis,” Wilson said.

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