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Property taxes mixed in King County for 2013; down for some, up for others

Property tax bills for 2013 will be sent to King County residents on Thursday, and should arrive at taxpayer mailing addresses shortly thereafter.

Property taxes are mixed in King County for 2013, with property values and property taxes down for many. However, some property owners will see their property values decline while their property taxes increase, and other property owners will see both their property values increase and property taxes increase.

"We are beginning to see a recovery in the housing market in King County," said King County Assessor Lloyd Hara. "Though property values continue to decline in most areas, there are also a number of areas where property values are increasing, including in the City of Seattle and the Eastside."

Overall, property taxes in King County are up 3.35 percent for 2013, due to a number of voter-approved measures that have recently passed. At the same time, the aggregate value of property in King County is down 1.48 percent for the 2013 tax year (2012 assessment year).

Property owners who are seeing property values decline but property taxes increase may be wondering why that is. In the majority of cases, it is due to voter approved property tax measures at the ballot that increase property tax collections. These are typically school, fire, or other levies or bonds.

In a number of areas of the county, property taxes declined along with the decline of property values. As always, whether a property owner's tax bill has increased or gone down is dependent on where they live – property taxes are going up in some communities, and going down in others.

The largest drops in property value occurred in south King County and the Lower Snoqualmie Valley. Property values were up in eight cities, including Mercer Island, Issaquah, and Skykomish, and stayed steady in another three cities. Property values declined in 28 cities.

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