Tax break?

Estimated increase in 2021 tax bill just $36 for homeowners

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Some St. Paul homeowners could get a break in 2021 after years of property tax increases.
That’s because St. Paul and Ramsey County are holding their 2021 property tax levies flat and St. Paul Public Schools are projecting a 5 percent increase.
Property tax estimates started to go out Nov. 10 and will continue to be mailed until Nov. 24.

Say your piece at hearings 
Ramsey County will hold its truth-in-taxation public hearing at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 30, at a location to be determined. The county plans to hold in-person and virtual hearings.
St. Paul’s hearing is 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 2 at the City hall/Courthouse. The city has announced an in-person hearing at this time.
St. Paul Public Schools’ hearing is 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 8. The board will determine whether the hearing will be held in-person or virtually.
The median-value home would see a $36 tax increase from 2020 to 2021. Other homeowners and owners of commercial/industrial and larger apartments won’t be so fortunate, with some apartment and commercial/industrial properties facing significant increases in property valuations.

Market value at all time high
The St. Paul School Board’s September vote on its 2021 maximum levy put the final piece of next year’s property tax puzzle in place. Ramsey County Auditor/Treasurer Chris Samuel made the rounds in August and September with the St. Paul City Council, Ramsey County Board, school board and joint Property Tax Advisory Committee.
Samuel and County Assessor Luis Rosario explained that property assessments and valuations for 2021 payable taxes were set before the COVID-19 pandemic struck in the spring. Despite the pandemic, many types of property sales continue to be strong, likely due to high demand and low supply.
Property values continue to rise countywide, although some of St. Paul’s poorest neighborhoods are still catching up from values lost during the 2007-2008 recession. Total growth in the 2020 assessed value of Ramsey County property was $4.52 billion. Growth in value coming from residential property accounts for $2.03 billion of that amount. The total assessed estimated market value for Ramsey County property taxes payable in 2021 comes in at $60.49 billion.
 “Our aggregated estimated market value is at an all-time high,” Rosario said. Overall market values are up 8.6 percent from last year. Values are now $5.86 billion over the payable 2008 peak.
“A part of the story, similar to prior years, is the concept of tax shifts due to market value changes,” said Samuel. Market values in St. Paul are increasing in the double digits for 26 percent of homes, 77 percent of apartment buildings and 41 percent of commercial/industrial properties.
Rosario cautioned that trend could change with an economic downturn. He cited the commercial sector, where many retail business, restaurants and offices have closed, as being vulnerable.
Impacts on individual properties are affected by sales of comparable properties, whether or not there have been improvements or damages, and other factors.
The median value home in St. Paul will see an 8 percent increase in estimated market value, from $199,800 in 2020 to $215,800 in 2021. 2020 property taxes were $3,030. That amount decreases $37 due to shifts within the property tax system which include gains in fiscal disparities and the homestead exclusion benefit.
The city and county taxes decline slightly. The regional rail levy adds $4 and the school district adds $66 to the bill. Special taxing districts add another $3 But factor in property tax system shifts and the net increase is $36, to $3,066 for the 2021 bill.
The median value St. Paul commercial property would have a 4.9 percent increase in market value, from, $464,000 in 2020 to $486,600 in 2021. Taxes were $16,030 in 2020 and would actually decrease to $15,950 in 2021. But Samuel cautioned that commercial/industrial properties vary widely in size and value.
The median value St. Paul apartment building would have a 16.6 percent increase in market value, from $878,100 in 2020 to $1.024 million in 2021. Property taxes would increase $1,338, from $17,827 in 2020 to $19,165 in 2021.
Continued strong growth in apartment values in buildings of four or more units, and associated tax shifts, will contribute to making rental housing less affordable. That is contrary to elected officials’ goals of addressing the area’s affordable housing crisis.
Samuel noted that as rent moratoriums and assistance payments end, it’s likely there will be a spike in evictions and apartment vacancies. Those challenges disproportionately affect families of color.

Como sees greatest market value changes
St. Paul neighborhoods seeing the highest residential market value increases are Como, North End, Sunray/Battle Creek/Highwood, Greater East Side, West Side and Payne/Phalen.
Citywide, SunRay/Battle Creek/Highwood would see the greatest percentage increase in market value at 10.3 percent. Values would rise from $193,300 to $213,250. Taxes would rise from $2,915 to $3,023, for a $108 or 3.7 percent change.
Monitor area neighborhoods would see varying levels of market value increases. But because of shifts and changes in the property tax system, neighborhoods seeing valuation increases might still see lower property taxes. And of course, what is paid by property is also affected by market value trends and similar property sales, as well as any property improvements.
The greatest median market value change is in Como neighborhood, at 8.8 percent. Market value would increase from $234,700 in 2020 to $255,400 in 2021. Property taxes would increase $63 or 1.7 percent, from $3,657 in 2020 to $3,720 in 2021.
Hamline-Midway would see an increase of 7 percent, $187,900 in 2020 to $201,100 in 2021. Property taxes would increase $5 or .2 percent, from $2,818 in 2020 to $2,823 in 2021.
Thomas-Dale or Frogtown would see a 4.7 percent increase in median market value, from $154,100 in 2020 to $161,400 in 2021. Property taxes would actually drop $46 or 2.1 percent, from $2,211 in 2020 to $2,165 in 2021.
Union Park’s median value home increases 4 percent, from $324,000 to $337,100. Property taxes would drop $185, from $5,257 to $5,072 for a 3.5 percent decrease.
St. Anthony Park and downtown are tied for the largest percentage drop in property taxes, at 5.8 percent. The median market value home in St. Anthony Park would increase just 1.8 percent, from $319,700 to $325,600. Property taxes would drop $298 from $5,180 in 2020 to $4,882 in 2021.

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