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Linn County property values see largest increase in a decade

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Property values in Linn County soared in the last year, the largest increase in real market values in a decade. Much of it is due to the skyrocketing prices for multifamily housing and other residential properties.

For the 2021-2022 evaluation period, Linn County properties were valued at more than $21 billion, an increase of nearly $2.5 billion from last year’s $18.8 billion total real market value.

Officials say that this increase is evidence of a blazing real estate market.

“Most of what you’re seeing, honestly, is the market,” Linn County Tax Assessor Andy Stevens said. “I’ve been doing this a long time, and it even surprised me.”

Those gains come despite wildfires that damaged properties in Mill City, Lyons and Gates, though Linn County made out better during the 2020 wildfires than neighboring Marion County or Clackamas County.

The only community that decreased in market value was Gates, which saw numerous properties destroyed by wildfires in September 2020. Stevens added that folks who experienced property damage during the wildfires may qualify for tax relief options.

Part of the large increase from last year is also because about 3,500 properties were evaluated in Sweet Home for the first time in more than 10 years. The result is a $20.5 million increase to Sweet Home property values, about 17.5%, the largest single-community increase since last year’s audit.

But the rest is all real estate market trends. Even without the higher percentage from Sweet Home properties, the increase from last year is still the largest in a decade.

In 2011-2012, the countywide real market value was $10.8 billion. The following year, it actually dipped by about $300 million. For the next two years, values increased by about $500 million, until 2014-2015, when real market value surged by roughly $800 million.

That was the largest annual increase until 2016-2017 came along and saw an increase of more than $1 billion. Increases to real market value pretty much held around $1 billion to $1.2 billion year to year, making the more than $2 billion increase to market value since last year a significant jump.

Multifamily housing saw the steepest incline, with an 8.3% boost to taxable value and a 24.2% increase in real market value.

Overall, residential properties increased in taxable value by 4.6% and the real market value increased by 14.3%. Rural properties increased in taxable value by 3.7% and in RMV by 14.7%, farm properties increased in taxable values by 5.8% and in RMV by 11.4%.

Commercial and industrial values increased by 4.8% in taxable value and 5.3% real market value.

Stevens noted that real market value is different than assessed value, which is what the county uses to determine property taxes and the amount paid on local bonds and levies. The assessed value of a property is the lower of its real market value and its maximum assessed value.

Stevens pointed out that the valuation process uses market values from January, so the actual increases to real market value are likely even higher by this point in the year, given how great of an increase has been seen over the course of previous years.

“You can see the trends,” Stevens said, “The market has been just incredible.”

Troy Shinn covers healthcare, natural resources and Linn County government. He can be reached at 541-812-6114 or troy.shinn@lee.net. He can be found on Twitter at @troydshinn. 

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