West Seattle property values drop a bit, but not because of the bridge

(2017 photo by Long Bach Nguyen)

If you’re a property owner, you should get information soon on your next valuation. In a news release today, the King County Assessor says median values in West Seattle dropped a bit. However, that’s NOT because of the bridge closure – as we learned earlier this year in a conversation with the department, all the info going into your valuation for taxes in a given year is compiled before the start of the previous year. In other words, your 2021 taxes are based on what your property was worth January 1, 2020 – before the bridge closure (and the pandemic, for that matter). Keeping that in mind, here’s the Assessor’s news release:

The King County Assessor’s office is wrapping up the annual process of mailing out re-valuation notices to taxpayers. Notices will be arriving in West Seattle soon. Median values fell 1% in West Seattle.

Each year, County Assessors appraise every commercial and residential parcel in the state. These values – set effective as of January 1 by state law – are then applied to the next year’s tax bill. Property values are being set on January 1, 2020, for taxes due in 2021.

Data indicates that home sale prices and overall home values have been relatively flat in the aggregate compared to last year. As always, values vary from city to city and neighborhood to neighborhood – some are up, and some are down. One significant factor in residential home values in King County is the increase in values in suburbs around Seattle, especially in the south end.

The Assessor has been monitoring the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. While housing values have remained relatively steady so far, some commercial sectors have had their values severely impacted. These changes in value will be reflected in the 2021 assessed value for taxes payable in 2022.

“While home values did not rise significantly countywide, some areas, such as Auburn and Kent are seeing a lot of demand and therefore increases in median value, as more and more buyers are being priced out of Seattle and the eastside,” said Wilson.

You can appeal your valuation – as explained here – but not your tax bill.

10 Replies to "West Seattle property values drop a bit, but not because of the bridge"

  • Ice October 7, 2020 (6:47 pm)

    Interesting. Home values seem to be staying the same, but retail space is getting cheaper. I wonder if this will have an effect on housing development. Maybe it will help new businesses to open after Covid-19.

  • psps October 7, 2020 (7:24 pm)

    A nearby neighbor’s house, not far from Tibbetts, was put on the market after the bridge closure. Modest but very nice craftsman single story with basement. Was remodeled about 10 years ago. Slight territorial view to the south. Sold in a couple of weeks for $1.2 million.

    • WSB October 7, 2020 (8:49 pm)

      I don’t have market stats but anecdotally, we’ve watched real estate within a couple miles of our neighborhood and almost everything I’ve checked on sold fast and NOT for cheap. So while some may have chosen to flee … others are waiting to replace them.

      • NH October 8, 2020 (2:10 am)

        Our block was upzoned. 3 of us on it have had multiple sales fall through due to the bridge. The developers in question said they weren’t interested in going through without a bridge.

  • Brad October 7, 2020 (10:10 pm)

    The Assessors news release didn’t seem to address any data that was segmented to reflect the statistical/empirical data ONLY in West Seattle from pre-bridge closure versus post-bridge closure.  So… I don’t understand the value of this article, and certainly not the article headline. I can imagine it’s nearly impossible to factor in a once in a century pandemic into (only West Seattle) housing value, but that only supports my point that, ‘what’s the point of this article if it’s not premised on encompassing the entirety of the King County Metro dataset’.

  • Lola October 8, 2020 (8:27 am)

    The house next door to us right at Covid  sold for $995 they had asked for $999.  It was remodeled inside but is a 1914 shell.  They are just now finding out all the problems it is posing with that Rain that we had a few weeks ago, leaks already in the roof.  We told them that the homeowner used to do everything himself and he knew nothing about construction.  His wife finally had the sense to hire a contractor after she saw his handy work, they spent $200,000 or more but probably eaked out a little profit.  I have been keeping tabs on property’s for sale in my neighborhood this year and everything is selling like hotcakes at asking or some even above, bidding wars?? I do not think the market has slowed down any since the closure of the bridge.

  • Mj October 8, 2020 (4:11 pm)

    I think watching the rental market gives a barameter of the impact.  Renters have more flexibility. 

    And the housing impact varies, in NE Admiral where people locate for easy freeway access the adverse impact is greater, my neighbor tried to sell and could not get full value due to adverse impact to access.  

  • WSobserver October 8, 2020 (5:52 pm)

    I can’t speak for home sales, but rentals in my neighborhood are sitting.  And sitting.

    If I were a new renter here, I wouldn’t even consider west Seattle.But good news for anyone fool enough to want to rent here, we’re leaving soon and you can have our apartment we’ve been in for almost 13 years. 

    Buh bye Seattle. I won’t miss you.

  • anoninstl October 9, 2020 (10:33 am)

    Once they announce whether they are going to fix or replace the bridge then we’ll know the real impact. If it becomes clear that it’s going to be years and years until we have a viable way in and out of here then prices will plummet. I am urging my husband to get out of here before it’s too late and we’re stuck here. I love my home so it sucks, but we’re living in a bit of a bubble right now with COVID, once we can return to the world traffic here is going to be insane, As it is anybody that rents here is going to be gone once those leases end, why would you deal with this issue. 

  • wetone October 10, 2020 (1:55 pm)

     Well contrary to what King County Tax Assessor is saying my 2021 tax value is higher than 2020.  No improvements made to residents.  2018  + $50k ,  2019  +$59k,  2020 +$5k,  2021 +$3k.  where’s all the money going  ??????????  oversize government with special interest….  Far as rentals we sold because of city/state rules and regulations. They were part of are retirement portfolio. But could not afford to have non paying renters. Many I know with rentals have either chose to to sell also or leave empty till next spring.  Anyone that thinks taxes will go down is not realistic as Seattle is so broke and failed with maintaining infrastructure cost to catch up will cost most all in this county and state. Either property tax, special levy’s, or toll’s ;)     

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