Douglas lake property values surge 85 percent |

Douglas lake property values surge 85 percent

Susie Vasquez

Dan Thrift / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Assessed values of unimproved land around Lake Tahoe have increased by 85 percent over the last year.

Assessed values for unimproved land around Lake Tahoe have increased by 85 percent over the past year, which could shock property owners in Douglas County when they receive their property tax assessments.

That value holds for upper Kingsbury Grade around Kahle Park, earmarked this year for reassessment in Douglas County.

Values for vacant land have increased by 90 percent in Ruhenstroth and 50 percent in the Gardnerville Ranchos, said Douglas County Assessor Doug Sonnemann.

Real estate values have increased across the board, but the 3 percent tax cap signed into law April 6 will soften the blow, Sonnemann said.

“The land factor is the biggest issue lately because of the market increases we’re all seeing. The second value in the equation is inflation,” Sonnemann said. “This is the unfortunate part of a booming market. It’s great if you’re selling your property, but not so wonderful if you’re paying taxes.”

If the property value is assessed at $100,000 and has doubled over the last two years, the 3 percent tax cap for owner-occupied homes means the assessed value will increase to $106,000.

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Materials shortages due to Hurricane Katrina and other factors have meant a 12 percent increase in construction costs, another factor in determining taxes.

That 12 percent figure is reduced by 1.5 percent for depreciation, leaving a figure of 10.5 percent. If the value of improvements were $100,000, those taxes would increase accordingly, to $110,500, Sonnemann said.

Assembly Bill 489 provides a partial abatement of taxes by applying a 3 percent cap on annual property tax increases for owner-occupied homes. Rentals are subject to a higher rate, up to 7.3 percent in Douglas County depending on a number of factors.

Residents should be receiving their assessment notices in about three weeks, Sonnemann said.