Property values in San Benito County pass the $7 billion mark

Residential growth spurs a third consecutive year of growth in value, placing San Benito County tops in that rate among the 20 smallest California counties

A third straight year of rising property values and an upswing in new construction has pushed the total assessed value of property in San Benito County past the $7 billion mark for the first time, according to the annual Assessor's Report released this week.

"We experienced an increase of around $416 million in net assessed value over the previous year," Assessor Tom Slavich wrote in his report, which was presented to the county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. The net assessment roll, excluding utilities, jumped 6.6 percent from the prior year, he said, "as the residential real estate market is no longer in a recovery mode, but an expansion mode."

Because of the changing real estate market, the Assessor's Office reviewed more than 3,600 properties to determine their value as of Jan. 1, 2015. As a result of this mandatory review, approximately 800 properties were removed from Proposition 8 status — which requires assessors to reduce property assessments during an economic downtown — and restored back to their Prop. 13 assessed values. The majority of the remaining 2,800 properties under Prop. 8 status — representing 14 percent of the county's secured parcels — "also experienced some upward value adjustments (partial restoration) to reflect the rising residential real estate market," Slavich wrote.

Prop. 8 value reductions are temporary, as it mandates that counties restore property assessments when the market recovers. Once a property receives a Prop. 8 reduction, its value must be reviewed each year.

The taxable value of land in San Benito County rose 8.11 percent from 2014-15 to 2015-16, the report noted. Every school district in the county, except rural Cienega, saw property in its jurisdiction rise year over year. the taxable value of property in the city of Hollister rose 6.9 percent — to more than $3.1 billion, while property in San Juan Bautista saw its value jump by 12.5 percent — to more than $169 million.

Based on the type of properties in the county, here are the 2015-16 taxable values:

  • Industrial: $368 million
  • Commercial $428 million
  • Agricultural $1.1 billion
  • Residential $4.6 billion

Residential properties make up 73 percent of the parcels in the county, with ag representing 23 percent, commercial 3 percent, and industrial 1 percent.

The 6.6 percent increase in property values for the 2015-16 year follows jumps of 8.2 percent and 6.3 percent in the previous two years. Prior to that, local property values dropped for five straight years, coinciding with the national economic downturn. Values rose in each of the eight years between 2000 and 2008 before tailing off.

Thirty years ago, in the 1985-86 year, the total assessed valuation of property in San Benito County was just more than $1 billion. By 2005, that value had grown to nearly $5.9 billion. 

All 12 Bay Area counties reported an increase of more than 5 percent in property values compared to the previous year, with San Benito County registering the 7th highest jump in value. Santa Clara County had the largest increase, at 8.67 percent, while Monterey County came in 11th, with just under a 6 percent increase in value. Among the 20 smallest California counties, San Benito had the largest assessment growth.

To find out the value of individual parcels in San Benito County, click here to access the Assessor's website.

To read the complete Assessor's Report, click here.

Adam Breen

Adam Breen has been a San Benito County resident since 1980 and graduated from Sacred Heart School and San Benito High School before earning a bachelor's degree from California State University, Fresno. A father of two sons, Adam has taught newspaper, English and yearbook at SBHS for the past decade, after six years as a magazine editor for Santa Clara University. He previously was editor of the Hollister Free Lance and content director for BenitoLink.