The spell of decline has broken.
With new commercial buildings and greater business investments, Mountain View topped the list of increased assessed property value in the county with a 6.56 percent from the 2011-12 to the 2012-13 assessment roll.
Unsecured property value, which includes business equipment, fixtures and computers, grew 30.3 percent in Mountain View. This growth is driven greatly by increased long-term purchases by Google.
For the first year since 2008, assessed property values have grown, according to the assessment roll delivered to the Santa Clara County tax collector in July 2012.
"This year's assessment roll provides the first concrete evidence that the Silicon Valley economy is finally heading in a positive direction,” said Santa Clara County Assessor Larry Stone, according to a press release.
Total net assessed value of real and business personal property increased by 3.25 percent, from $299.1 billion to $308.8 billion, according to the assessment roll summary.
Nearly every city experienced an increase in assessed property values, ranging from 0.01 percent increase in Morgan Hill to 6.56 percent increase in Mountain View. Gilroy was the only exception with a 0.43 percent decrease.
The county-wide increase in value is driven largely by greater development in commercial and industrial areas, the assessor said. Residential real estate saw a modest increase.
The northern part of the county drove the growth over the south county, Stone said, comparing it with a locomotive and the end of the train.
The annual growth in the assessment roll is a combination of a number of factors including changes in ownership, exemptions, reductions when market values fall below the assessed values (Proposition 8), new construction, and the California Consumer Price Index (CCPI). The assessment roll also contains the value of business personal property, including machinery, equipment, computers and fixtures.
Business personal property increased by 6.48 percent, from $24.1 billion to $25.6 billion across the Santa Clara County. This increase signals that businesses are starting to hire again and make long-term purchases of equipment and machinery.
In addition to the increase in assessed property value, more properties are being assessed at a value below their purchase price to reflect a lower market value, the assessor said in a written statement.
Across Santa Clara County, the number of properties assessed at a reduced value increased from 124,148 last year to 136,559. Due to a greater increase in the number of properties assessed in comparison with the monetary amount in reductions, the average reduction per property decreased by 5.6 percent from $209,210 to $197,442, according to the temporary reductions spreadsheet.
In Mountain View there was an increase in the number of properties assessed at a reduced value from 3,925 to 4,242 whereas the average reduction value per property decreased by 10.8 percent, from $164,001 to $146,272.
In 2012 Santa Clara County assessed 136,559 properties with reduced values. Of those, 62 percent have no change or a greater reduction in value since 2011.
Eventually these values will be restored to their original values as the real estate market rebounds.
Some taxpayers will see an increase in property taxes, with an increase in assessed value.
While most taxpayers aren’t happy to hear of an increase in property taxes, perhaps the consolation is that the money goes to education and local governments.
To view the press release from the Santa Clara County Assessor's Office, visit the department's website.