Total taxable assessed property value in East Baton Rouge Parish grew by almost 2 percent to about $3.4 billion in 2011, suggesting the sluggish parish economy could be making a slow rebound, Parish Tax Assessor Brian Wilson said.
The preliminary tax roll increase of about $62 million from 2010 to 2011 was almost double the $32 million, or 1 percent, growth from 2009 to 2010, Wilson said.
Before the economy’s downturn, Wilson said, the parish typically saw yearly increases of 4 percent to 5 percent.
“The economy, it’s been slow. New construction has been down the past couple years,” Wilson said. “But we’re starting to see an upward trend and, hopefully, we’ll sustain that in the next year or two.”
Wilson estimated that the assessed property values would translate into about $372 million in tax revenue for the parish this year.
Roughly $366 million was due to be collected in 2010, Wilson said.
Assessments reflect a percent of the fair market value of a property and are used to calculate property owners’ ad valorem tax bill annually. Ad valorem taxes are those levied on assessed value of personal property or real estate.
For residences, the assessed value of a property and land is 10 percent of market value.
Property owners may view their latest assessments online at http://www.ebrpa.org.
Tax bills will be sent out on Dec. 1, Wilson said, and taxes will be due Dec. 31.
Wesley Moore, an appraiser with Cook, Moore & Associates, speculated that values of existing properties have likely decreased overall, but new construction helped push assessments forward.
“There is still some new residential construction in East Baton Rouge,” Moore said. “In Central and the Zachary area, and to a much lesser degree there is some new construction in south Baton Rouge.”
Moore said the retail sector and single family homes in the parish have “reasonably” held their values.
But he said the industrial sector and the office market has encountered some “softness.”
He said Baton Rouge’s housing market is still stronger than many of its national peers.
State law requires all property to be reassessed every four years, and next year is a reassessment year, Wilson said.
Wilson said he doesn’t expect the housing market to have a drastic impact on assessments.
“You see the volume of sales are still way down, but I still see a strong market with sales here,” Wilson said. “Prices are still holding pretty good. It may have deteriorated in some markets, but the big picture throughout the parish is pretty good.”
Moore said he expects real estate markets to pick up.
“The expectations are that job growth figures will not be substantial, but there will still be some positive job growth,” Moore said. “When you have new jobs, you need places to house those new employees.”