King County property values down substantially | King County Assessor

The valuation process is still underway, but expect the market to be cooler than last year.

The following is a press release from the King County Assessor:

The annual process of property valuation in King County for taxation purposes is underway, with initial results showing 2023 property values continued to be affected by lingering impacts of the COVID 19 pandemic. After reaching all-time highs in Quarter 2 of 2022, residential property values are correcting downwards throughout King County in 2023. At the same time, values of commercial office buildings fell by 15% to 20%, reflecting the impact of a transition to less in office work activity.

“COVID changed our lives, and it continues to impact the real estate market,“ said King County Assessor John Wilson. “In 2021 and 2022, residential prices and values went through the roof due to a major imbalance between supply and demand. The housing market is still healthy in King County, but it cooled considerably in 2023, bringing values down.”

Regarding commercial values, Wilson said, “Generally, the commercial market has remained steady in recent years. But in 2023 we are seeing a significant drop in the value of large office spaces, presumably due to the shift away from in-office work. COVID has changed how and where many of us work, and that is now showing up in property values.”

“Finally, it is always important to remember that voter approved special levies usually have more impact on property tax increases than do increases in home values,” added Wilson.

The valuation process is still underway, but it is clear that most residential market areas in King County will see reductions on average with the largest reductions coming on the eastside of Lake Washington. The Sammamish plateau will see values decrease upwards of 22% on average. This contrasts with the 8% average reduction we will see in the Queen Anne Neighborhood.

Each year as required by law, County Assessors appraise every commercial and residential parcel across the state of Washington. These values – set effective as of January 1 of the assessment year – are what is being used to calculate property taxes due next year, in this case, 2024. Notices of the new valuations will be arriving in King County neighborhoods on a rolling basis for the next several months and will reflect the value of properties as of January 1, 2023.

By state law, King County adjusts property values annually to reflect market sales. All 720,000-plus King County residential and commercial property owners receive an annual value update. Because of that volume, the Department of Assessments (DOA) releases value notices in stages, starting in the spring, continuing through the summer and generally wrapping up around Labor Day.

Receipt of the value notice triggers a 60-day window during which time a property owner can appeal their new value, but not specifically the taxes. It’s important to note that increased values don’t directly relate to potential tax increases. Property tax collection amounts are set yearly by taxing districts around the county; not the King County Department of Assessments.

To learn more about how property values and taxes are determined, the appeal process, the senior exemption or to use the taxpayer transparency tool, please visit here.