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Real estate market looks to be slowing down

The Kitsap County Assessor’s office has mailed change-of-value notices to 91,000 property owners, one that reflects the slowing down of the local real estate market.

“Most property owners have seen their assessed value increase by greater than 20 percent in each of the last two years,” said Assessor Jim Avery. “But this year’s increase will typically be in the 8 percent to 11 percent range.”

Because all taxing districts are limited to a one percent annual property tax increase taxpayers should see little change in their 2008 tax bill unless they live in the Poulsbo Fire district, where voters in that district approved a 46 percent increase earlier this year.

“Property owners will see a much larger increase in their land values as opposed to their building or improvement values this year,” Avery said.

He added the larger-than-normal increase to land value is caused by two main factors: a huge countywide run-up in the cost of vacant land during the past two or three making it hard to find a building site for under $100,000 and the expansion of county urban growth areas. The county comprehensive plan, approved last December, rezones 7,227 acres and allows for higher density development in specific areas.

Avery said extra staff will be on hand in the assessor’s office following the mailing to answer questions. Property owners are encouraged to call the assessor customer service line at (360) 337-7160, especially if they feel that the reported total value exceeds the expected sales price.

Commercial properties and properties with new construction will receive change of value notices later this summer.

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