Tech boom lifting property tax haul 

click to enlarge Tweet suite: Mayor Ed Lee, left, tours the Twitter site on Market Street, one of several recent high-tech land buys. - S.F. EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • S.F. Examiner File Photo
  • Tweet suite: Mayor Ed Lee, left, tours the Twitter site on Market Street, one of several recent high-tech land buys.

The resurgence of San Francisco’s technology industry and the related property boom helped to add $6 billion to city tax rolls over the past year, Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting announced Wednesday. The total property-tax roll now amounts to nearly $170 billion in gross value, up 4.2 percent since the past fiscal year.

“We continue to feel the real estate market is coming back,” Ting said, noting that much of the boost has been realized in commercial office spaces in the tech-heavy South of Market neighborhood.

The housing crash of 2008 prompted the Assessor-Recorder’s Office to issue 18,000 temporary valuation reductions for homes with lower market value than assessed value, but Ting said that type of adjustment will soon come to an end.

“This year may be one of the last doing reductions for homeowners,” Ting said.

Property owners should receive notifications of assessed values by mid-August, along with information about whether they’ve been granted a temporary reduction.

While San Francisco was unique among California counties in experiencing tax growth throughout the recession, Ting said, the latest rise doesn’t equal the assessment spikes seen during the height of the housing market in 2006 and 2007, when property tax rolls grew by 8.7 percent.

While much of that 2006-07 increase was seen as a result of home values, Ting said office buildings and other rental properties are playing a bigger role in the current growth.

“Now there is much more of an equilibrium between rentals and the market to own a home,” he said.

The main driver of property-tax growth is now office-building sales such as Twitter’s new headquarters in a former furniture building on Market Street, Ting said. New development for projects at the Transbay Transit Center, the Hunters Point Shipyard, Treasure Island and Mission Bay areas will continue to amp up San Francisco’s tax revenues over the coming years, he said.

Property taxes bring in $2 billion annually, nearly one-third of San Francisco’s total annual budget.

According to recent data from Novato-based RealFacts, the average apartment in San Francisco now costs more than $2,700 per month. data show the average home sale is listed at $725,000, down from the market height of around $800,000 in 2006-07, according to Ting.


Real estate rise: Areas with highest property-tax roll increases:

  • South of Market: $1 billion
  • Mission Bay: $500 million
  • Pacific Heights-Marina: $300 million

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