Bremerton property values are on the rise

Property values across Kitsap County are up this year by an average of 7.5 percent.

Manette and the Kitsap Lake communities experienced notable increases of between 9 and 12 percent respectively in the revaluation of homes. Single-family home values in most parts of Bainbridge Island except Winslow and Fletcher Bay, jumped by 12 to 16 percent.

The Kitsap County Assessor’s Office released the results of its annual revaluation process this week, and residents should start receiving postcards in the mail today that detail the values of their homes.

The general increases in many areas of Kitsap indicate market forces are still at work, and the demand for homes outpaces supply.

“I think we’ve arrived at what I would identify as a pseudo-seller’s market,” said Lee Avery, president of the Kitsap County Association of Realtors.

Avery, who is no relation to Kitsap County Assessor Jim Avery, said the momentum gained over the last few years in the market is being maintained.

A combination of lower interest rates and the influx of more jobs in the county, such as PSNS, has also fueled home buying.

An assessor calculates the value of a property using a process of analyzing property improvements against depreciation. When properties in a particular community are selling on the market for more or less than their listed values, office staff use a formula to change the assessed value of the homes to better reflect that market.

“We are required by state law to appraise property at 100 percent of its market value,” said Mike Wikstrom of the assessor’s office.

Assessor staff members review property values annually using computer software programs and other evaluation tools and, once every six years, visually inspect one-sixth of the county.

For this year’s assessment, the six-year visual inspections were conducted in Bainbridge Island, Suquamish and Indianola.

“It’s to ensure the accuracy of the data,” Wikstrom said.

Rising property values tend to make property owners balk when they think of the associated property taxes, but the assessor’s office says the two aren’t inextricably linked.

“If the property value goes up by 10 percent, your taxes aren’t necessarily going to go up by 10 percent too,” Wikstrom said. “They could go up or they could go down.”

Jurisdictions are operating under voter-approved Initiative 747, which caps annual property tax increases at 1 percent unless an additional increase is approved by voters.

The Assessor then divides that amount over the total assessed values to establish a levy rate. That rate is distributed over each property, which equates to property tax.

The revaluations released this week represent the assessor’s determination of market value as of Jan 1, but will be the basis for property tax distribution throughout the county next year.

A breakdown of the revaluation, by the areas within the county, is as follows:

l The Bremerton neighborhoods with the biggest increases in home valuations are the Manette and Kitsap Lake communities, which typically saw increases of between 9 and 12 percent. Meanwhile, homes in the East Bremerton neighborhood, excluding Manette, saw typical value increases of between 5 and 8 percent and the value of homes in the West Bremerton community generally increased between 5 and 8 percent.

l The value of homes in Central Kitsap typically increased by 5 to 8 percent.

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