California's Merced County has experienced the state's second highest increase in year-over-year property value, clocking in a 9.3 percent bump that's resulted in a $19.5 billion tally. Following only Stanislaus County's increase, an 11.4 percent rise resulting in a $39.7 billion total valuation, Merced is one of 58 California counties which comprise the cumulative increase of 6.1 percent in value, concluding with an overall approximation of $4.9 trillion for all of California's property according to data released by the state's Board of Equalization.
"Higher property values are an encouraging sign that California's economic recovery is finally gaining traction throughout our state. This is good news, especially for homeowners still underwater and workers who still need jobs," says George Runner, Board of Equalization member, according to the Fresno Bee.
The results of the report mark the fourth straight year that California's property values have risen.
However, one detail that cautions for controlled optimism is the fact that the increasing values of the properties also mean higher property taxes with homeowners expecting to make the first payment on those fees by December 10. Another component of the study to process judiciously is the rebound of San Joaquin County, which experienced an 8.8 percent increase that led to a new property value estimate of $61 billion. Though this was the fourth highest percentage gain among all California counties, part of that significant turnaround comes from the reality that it suffered one of the steepest falls during the beginning of the housing crisis, somewhat muting the overall quality of the ascent.
Another trend to play close attention to is that the current values are still lower than pre-recession numbers. Also, if commercial property speaks to your interests more than residential, Merced County Assessor Barbara Levey says that just as commercial properties followed residential into the nationwide dive, they'll remain a step behind the activity of residential holdings during the more positive trends. Also, specifically referring to Merced, Terry Ruscoe, owner of Merced Yosemite Realty, says that the property values of the region are rising in part because of constant interest from Bay Area investors and having more homes in escrow than in the previous year.
"The market's moving and the market's pushing prices up. This is good for a lot of folks," Ruscoe says, adding that one of the setbacks of the recent report is that many potential homeowners are still unable to buy new properties due to the bad credit outcomes that still linger after the housing crisis.
Nevertheless, the optimism surrounding the consistently rising housing values reflects the hopes of reinvigorated home-buying and a consumer confidence that will result in another drop in the unemployment rate which hovers at about 10.4 percent in Merced but has been in a steady decline these last few years.
Toulumne County with a 2.7 percent rise to $6.3 billion, Calaveras County's moving upward by 6.1 percent to $6 billion and Mariposa County inching up to 0.7 percent and valuing at $2.1 billion represent some of the smallest improvements throughout the state. But with 55 out of 58 counties increasing in value to some degree, California continues to make strides in a positive direction.
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