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City of Boston property tax rates 2010 will mean higher bills for many homeowners


*** IF YOU ARE reaching this page in search of information on the new law requiring condominium associations in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to make minimum corporate tax payments each year, go to this story: Worst Tax, Ever ***

You might be holding out hope that, due to an economic slowdown of the size we haven’t seen for almost 80 years, the value of our homes might be at least slightly less than they were three years ago and that your property taxes might be going down to reflect this. No. And, no.

The city of Boston recently sent out valuation notices to homeowners. While the city says, “Many homeowners saw a decline in value,” it’s just as true that many homeowners saw increases in value (our condo’s value went up ten percent, for example). Overall, the assessed value of single-family homes in the city dropped 5% and condos dropped 2%, but several neighborhoods saw high-single and even double-digit drops in values while properties in the downtown Boston neighborhoods increased.

The Boston Globe covered this in a recent article:

In the past year, the median assessment of single family homes dropped 13 percent in East Boston to $221,450, 12 percent in Mattapan to $220,700, and 10 percent in Roxbury to $219,900. There were some relative bright spots: Median assessments increased 1 percent in both Jamaica Plain and South Boston, to $514,900 and $349,500, respectively.

During the same time, the median assessment of condos dropped nearly 15 percent in South Dorchester to $178,500, 11 percent in East Boston to $183,100, and 10 percent in Mattapan to $158,400. Assessments rose 3.7 percent to $441,800 in the South End, 2.3 percent to $492,200 in the Back Bay and Beacon Hill, and 2.5 percent to $275,300 in the Fenway.

(The downtown Boston neighborhoods ‘subsidize’ the other neighborhoods because of their higher valuations and because when it comes to city services, they are ‘donors’, paying more in taxes than they receive.)

There’s two parts to how much property tax you’ll have to pay. There’s the assessed value of your property and there’s the city’s residential property tax rate.

The city announced this past week that the residential property tax rate will increase from $10.87 to $11.88 per thousand dollars of valuation.

Tough situation for many Boston homeowners but little they can do to complain.

You might try to plead your case before the city’s Assessing Department. Appeals must be in before February 1, 2010, I believe.

The following is the official press release from the City of Boston:

* City of Boston sets tax rate for Fiscal Year 2010 *

* The City of Boston is prepared to submit to the State for certification its tax rate for residential and commercial properties for Fiscal Year 2010. Reductions in the City

Author: John Keith

John A Keith is a licensed real estate broker in Boston, Massachusetts. He helps buyers and sellers of condos and single-family homes in all of Boston’s neighborhoods.

He is also a writer whose work has appeared in South End News, Boston Courant, Back Bay Patch, and Boston Herald.