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SLO County homeowners saved more than $200 million on property taxes, thanks to Prop. 13

San Luis Obispo County homeowners saved more than $200 million in 2018, thanks to state property tax benefits, according to a recent analysis.

Proposition 13 and other policies gave county residents tax breaks of more than $2,400 per household, according to data compiled by nonprofit news site CALmatters and real estate tracking firm Zillow.

Under Proposition 13, which voters passed in 1978, residents pay property taxes based on 1 percent of the assessed value at the time they bought their homes, according to CALmatters’ history of the policy.

That value also cannot increase by more than 2 percent per year. This frequently causes a home’s assessed value to be far lower than its current market value.

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A Prop. 13 map created by CALmatters shows how much SLO County homeowners saved by Census tract. Courtesy of CALmatters

For example, the average assessed value of San Luis Obispo County properties was about $398,000 in 2018, while the average market value was nearly $647,000, according to the Zillow data.

California homeowners saved $30 billion in property taxes last year — due in large part to Proposition 13, but also thanks to other state tax exemptions.

Zillow and CALmatters used 2018 tax assessor data as much as possible, although 2017 numbers were used in some cases.

A map created by CALmatters and Zillow shows how much homeowners saved by Census tract. In San Luis Obispo County’s most expensive area — which stretches down Highway 101 from San Luis Obispo into See Canyon and Avila Beach, and out to Point Buchon — the average market value of homes is about $1.2 million.

But the average assessed value of properties in that area is $739,600 — nearly $470,000 less than they’re currently worth.

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Even in northwest of Paso Robles near Lake Nacimiento — a part of San Luis Obispo County where properties are valued at nearly $485,000 — the assessed value is about $154,000 cheaper at around $331,000.

The situation is the same throughout the Central Coast and Central Valley.

Monterey County property owners saved $292.5 million, with an average market value that’s about $284,000 higher than the average assessed value.

In Santa Barbara County, the average market value for properties is $774,900, while the assessed value is $395,400.

The difference between the assessed and market values of Fresno County properties is $95,600, and in Tulare County it’s $62,200.

Check out the Zillow map below to see how much property owners in 40 California counties saved.

Lindsey Holden: 805-781-7939, @lindseymholden
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