, Newburyport, MA

December 5, 2012

Salisbury homeowners to see $112 tax hike

Rate set to rise 54 cents

By Angeljean Chiaramida

---- — SALISBURY — While most residential property owners will be paying more in taxes this year, even with a 54-cent rate hike, the town is still in line to have one of the lowest tax rates in the region.

Salisbury’s tax rate is slated to increase to $11.51 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

“I don’t have all the rates yet from other towns in the area,” town Assessor Cheryl Gorniewicz said. “But in the past, we were the lowest, except for Lawrence, which has a split tax rate.”

Gorniewicz said the reason Salisbury’s rate is rising is because property values are still dropping on some town properties due to the number of parcels for sale and a real estate market that continues to lag.

With the cost of running the town going up a bit, that drives the tax rate up, too, she said.

The value of the average single-family home in Salisbury dropped from $313,488 last year to $308,471 this year, according to Gorniewicz’s assessment calculations. With the expected 54-cent rate increase, that means owners will see a bump in their tax bill of about $112, to $3,551, she estimates.

Assessed values are based on property sales in town within the past 12 to 18 months. Gorniewicz said the main areas in Salisbury where values were adjusted downward were some residential lots in the more rural parts of town as well as some parcels along the beach that don’t have street frontage, parking or direct access to the beach.

Given the number of homes for sale at the beach, Gorniewicz said buyers recently have had the choice to buy properties with frontage and parking as well as oceanfront status. That increases the value of lots with such frontage, but drives down the value of those without it.

The values of the average single-family home as well as average commercial and industrial properties have dropped when compared to last year, Gorniewicz said. The trend of falling property values began in fiscal year 2008, after the real estate market collapsed.

The value of the average single-family home in Salisbury was at its all-time high in 2007, at $360,359. The descent has been steady ever since, as has the rise in tax rate, going from $8.18 per $1,000 of assessed value in 2007 to this year’s $11.51.

Only condominiums saw increases in value when compared to last year, Gorniewicz said. Last year, the average value of a Salisbury condo was $265,445, but it rose to $270,736 this year. Gorniewicz said the reason is again due to recent sales. A few expensive oceanfront condos were sold in the last year, driving up values.

As a result, condo owners with property values near the average will see their tax bills go up about $200, to $3,116, according to Gorniewicz’s estimates.

The average value of a commercial property dropped from $480,135 last year to $459,218. Those commercial owners will experience about a $19 increase in taxes, from $5,267 last year to $5,286, given the new rate.

The average industrial property dropped in value from $840,147 to $818,274 this year. With the rate increase, those owners will see their tax bill rise about $202 this year, to a total of about $9,418.