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By virtue of the various forms of revenue it generates, the real estate industry will always be a major driver of the American economy, particularly with regard to property taxation. When economists estimate the cost of living in various American regions, property taxes are a leading factor in their calculations because these taxes are both unavoidable and intrinsically tied to home values. When you’re evaluating lofts, penthouses, or condos in downtown San Diego, you must take into consideration property taxes along with association fees, insurance, maintenance, mortgage financing, and other housing costs. Your mortgage lending bank will include these taxes when figuring out home affordability as well as your monthly payments, and if your loan-to-value ratio is 80 percent or higher, the taxes will be put into an escrow account on your behalf.

Understanding Property Taxes

The San Diego County Property Assessor is in charge of assigning taxable value to all dwellings and issuing tax notices. The taxable value will rarely be equal to the amount you paid for your home, and it’ll likely be less than the value determined by the appraiser the mortgage lender retains. The County Auditor calculates tax rates according to state legislation, special assessments, bonds, penalties, and exemptions. The County Tax Collector takes care of billing and payment enforcement. Tax revenue is apportioned to finance school districts, road maintenance, parks and recreation, public health programs, and other public works.

The Base San Diego Tax Rate

Not all districts and municipalities in San Diego County are subject to the same property tax rate. In the City of San Diego, which is designated as Tax Rate Area number 08001, the property tax rate is 1.23199 percent, which happens to be the highest, followed by Lemon Grove and El Cajon. Interestingly, many people think Coronado would be subject to a higher rate because of the spectacular oceanfront real estate on the island, but at 1.05406 percent, it actually has the lowest rate.

Tax Exemptions

Primary properties are the ones in which homeowners actually reside, and they’re entitled to a $7,000 annual exemption, which means the net value assessed is reduced by this amount for tax purposes. Other exemptions are made for properties that qualify as historical and for homeowners who are disabled veterans. Low-income disabled veterans can see their property assessments reduced by as much as $196,262.

Final Tax Calculation

Once primary residents, owners of historical properties, and disabled veterans claim their respective exemptions, the tax notices they receive will reflect the exemptions. Special assessments and bonds will be included in the tax rate, and payments are due on November 1st and February 20th of each year, which allows you to split the amount due in two. Let’s say a small loft in the Gaslamp Quarter is assessed at $200,000. Assuming the primary homeowners’ tax exemption is claimed, this would bring the assessment down to $193,000, which means the annual tax bill would be around $2,378.

It’s smart to find out the amount you’ll pay in property taxes as you calculate how much you can afford when you’re looking to buy downtown San Diego real estate. Another intelligent move is choosing to work with real estate professionals who know the ins and outs of the real estate market in the area. The experts at 92101 Urban Living have years of experience helping clients with reliable, straightforward advice about buying and selling properties in downtown San Diego. Call one of our friendly agents today at 619-649-0368.