EVERETT — For most Snohomish County homeowners, property tax bills are less likely to come as a shock this year.
Although, as always, each total will depend on exactly where that property is.
Across the county, the average residential property tax bill didn’t change much compared to last year, according to new data from the county Assessor’s Office.
Homeowners’ taxes, on average, decreased by 0.9%. That’s somewhat of an anomaly, given that taxes often increase each year as voters approve new financial measures and taxing districts face rising costs, said Assessor Linda Hjelle.
Residents in parts of the county, though, will see more of a year-over-year change than others when they get their 2021 bill next month.
Snohomish, Darrington and Mukilteo are among the municipalities where residential property tax bills increased the most — with the total owed rising 8% or more, on average — compared to last year, data from the Assessor’s Office show.
On the other end of the spectrum are Brier, Mill Creek, Mountlake Terrace and Woodway, where the average residential tax bill decreased by at least 7%, the data show.
Taxes owed by Everett homeowners fell an average of 4.6%, according to the Assessor’s Office.
The Snohomish County Treasurer’s Office will begin mailing those property tax bills on Monday.
Property owners should receive their tax statements by March 15, according to the Treasurer’s Office.
Payments are due by postmark April 30 and October 31.
The totals are calculated using a property’s value as of Jan. 1, 2020, and that given address’ levy rate, which depends on the taxing district boundaries the home falls within. The rate levied by each of those districts, including ones that fund schools and firefighting agencies, is recalculated annually after the districts update their budgets for the upcoming year, the assessor said.
Special levies and bonds recently OK’d by voters will also affect how much tax bills are for some homeowners, Hjelle said. Arlington, Edmonds, Mukilteo, Lakewood and Stanwood-Camano school districts passed monetary property tax measures last year. Fire District 15 of Tulalip Bay, Sky Valley Fire and South County Fire did, too.
Overall, property taxes in Snohomish County will total $1.493 billion this year, up $881,000 over the $1.492 billion levied for all districts last year, according to the Assessor’s Office.
Each individual taxing district’s levy rate, or the rate that district collects per $1,000 of assessed value, generally decreased. That’s because property values mostly increased, so the levy rates were reduced to prevent property owners from being charged more than districts need to operate.
The typical levy rate last year was about $10.28 per thousand dollars of assessed value, while the typical levy this year fell to about $9.67.
The total assessed value of Snohomish County properties increased from $145 billion for 2020 tax purposes to $154 billion for this year’s tax purposes, according to the Assessor’s Office, which annually updates those numbers.
Hjelle does not yet have data to illustrate any changes in home values amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest round of assessment data, released by her office last summer, reflects property values as of Jan. 1, 2020, before the public health crisis began.
That data showed that residential property values grew 5.4% in the county compared to the previous year.
The average home value increase in each city ran the gamut. It ranged from 3.8% in Mill Creek, where the average residence was valued at $584,900, to 13.3% in Darrington, where the average residence was valued at $167,100.
A typical home in Everett was valued at about $355,200, a 7.8% increase over the previous year, according to the Assessor’s Office.
Compared to prior year-over-year growth in property values, the most recent round of assessments reported the smallest value increase in Snohomish County in years.
In June, the Assessor’s Office will release updated figures reflecting property values as of Jan. 1, 2021.
The next batch of assessment data is likely to show a larger jump in values, said Mike Pattison, a manager for the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties.
The housing market “seems to be immune” from the pandemic-driven economic downturn, Pattison said. Interest rates remain low, construction costs are still high and demand keeps exceeding supply.
Each of those factors fuel housing appreciation.
“Those three tail winds, I’m certain, will continue to drive prices significantly higher,” Pattison said. “I don’t think people can expect any relief from housing price escalation any time soon.”
Rachel Riley: 425-339-3465; email@example.com. Twitter: @rachel_m_riley.