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Property values surge in NYC

15 January 2016 - Josh Barbanel, Wall Street Journal

New York has become a trillion-dollar city, according to city tax assessors.

New preliminary tax rolls released Friday show that with rising values for both residential and commercial properties, the total market value of taxable property rose to $1.072 trillion for the fiscal year beginning July 1, a 10.6% increase from the $969.4 billion reported this year.

It was the largest increase in market values in a decade, since the tax year ending in June 2008, when values computed by tax assessors soared 18.1%. That was shortly before the financial crisis and the crash of the city’s real-estate market.

By far the strongest growth in market value was in Brooklyn, which has become a destination of choice for many new to New York. The value of apartment buildings rose by 18.2% and the total value of real estate rose 16%.

Manhattan and Queens also showed strong growth. In Manhattan, which pays nearly two-thirds of the city’s property taxes, values climbed 9.3%; market values were up 9.9% in Queens.

The increases come after a large run-up in residential rents and apartment prices, though brokers say the pace is likely to slow next year. The figures exclude valuations for government buildings, parks, schools, and religious and charitable organizations.

The average tax on a condo will go up 10.7% to $9,302, according to the tax roll data, while the average tax on a co-op will go up by 6.5% to $6,837. The average tax on single-family homes will go up 3.8% to $5,138. For rental- apartment buildings, the average tax will rise 9.4% to $4,236 an apartment.

City officials attributed 89% of the increase in market values to rising assessments of individual properties. Most of the rest was traced to booming construction, especially of apartment buildings in many neighborhoods across the city.

“This year’s tax roll is simply a reflection of New York City’s growing real estate market,” said Jacques Jiha, commissioner of the city’s Department of Finance.

He noted the construction of rental buildings rose sharply and now makes 36% of all construction activity in the city, and 55% of all construction in Brooklyn.

Because state law requires that increased market values be gradually phased in for most taxpayers, the surge in market values will translate into a more modest windfall for the New York City treasury this year, and more modest tax bills for New Yorkers.

For the city, the strong property values could mean hundreds of millions in additional tax collections on top of the $23.5 billion forecast for the fiscal year beginning in July in the city’s November 2015 financial plan.

That plan forecast a 4.8% increase from the previous fiscal year, but the new preliminary tax rolls show an increase of 8.1%.