Property taxes in King County, Washington, are on the rise once again, leaving homeowners struggling to keep up. This year, aggregate property values have increased by a staggering 21.8%, but the county’s budget-based real estate property tax revenue system means that property taxes for 2023 have still risen by 6.4%. For many, this is simply too much to bear, with some being forced to move away from the homes they have loved and lived in for decades. Take Winona Gram, for example, who has lived in Sammamish for 30 years. This beautiful area, at the other side of the Sammamish, 20 miles east from Seattle Downtown, is struggling with skyrocketing taxes.
When her taxes almost doubled over the last six years, she found that she could no longer afford to live there on a teacher’s salary. It was a heartbreaking decision, but one that she had to make in order to stay financially afloat. She had no choice but to move to South King County, leaving behind the community that she had been a part of for so long. Ron Farrell is another example of someone who is struggling to keep up with the rising property taxes for their real estate investments. Having owned his King County home for nearly two decades, he has seen taxes rise about four times the value of what it was when he first moved in. And, with a son in college (that’s expensive in the US, you know), he is now looking to move to another state after living in Washington for over 50 years.
How Are Property Taxes in King County, Washington, Calculated and What You Should Pay
Both Farrell and Gram are just two of the many people who are being priced out of the homes they have lived in for years. And, while some may try to appeal the assessed value of their home with the county, this is often a long and tedious process. The fact is that voters have approved many of the levies that are driving up property taxes, and the county has made it clear that local schools and state schools will be the beneficiaries of this year’s property tax revenues.
Many homeowners are wondering where the accountability lies. After all, they are paying higher and higher taxes every year without seeing any real benefits in return. And, as people continue to be priced out of their homes, the long-term impact on the schools is a growing concern.
According to Smart Asset, an average house in the King County (CP 98001), for a $500,000 value house, is around $5,250 this year. This is higher than the statewide average that is $4,200, but closer to the nationwide average, that is $4,950 for 2023. However, this is still just an estimate, and there may be discrepancies based on your individual circumstances. You better go to your local city hall and find the correct numbers.
What Does the County Do With Your Taxes?
Paying property taxes is an unavoidable burden that homeowners have to bear. Unfortunately, calculating how much you will owe can be a frustratingly complex and unreliable process. While it may seem like a straightforward calculation based on your property’s assessed value and tax rates, there are actually multiple rates to consider, and even using median property taxes as a guide can only provide an estimate.
You have to consider that taxes over your real estate properties have a purpose. Different entities receive funding from property taxes, including the state, county, local schools, and emergency responders. This means that not only are you paying a hefty amount in taxes, but you’re also supporting multiple organizations with varying priorities and accountability.