Topic: Property Values Up
As town-owned buildings are going up in values, the city's coffers tend to suffer. That is what a lot of major metropolitan areas with hot real estate valuations are realizing. In one word, it is fair to admit that skyrocketing property values are driving up the cost of insuring some town-owned buildings such as schools and other public buildings. Here is a good example: Property values in Congress Heights, an older community in Southeast Washington, have increased 41 percent, nearly double the city's average, an indication that the skyrocketing housing boom has crossed the Anacostia River. The demand for affordable housing will continue to rise. A lot of people are going to be kept out of the affordability index. Even farmers will notice higher property tax values on their farmland. In many places in the country, agriculture land is assessed at its use value, rather than its market value. That means assessors factor in the land's potential for productivity when they figure taxable values.
People living in high-risk areas have to pay for more coverage. Homeowners find themselves paying increasingly higher insurance rates as more people flock to the coasts and insurers try to cut back on the billions of dollars of losses they've absorbed from previous storms. Many residents in high-risk areas have to buy separate hurricane or windstorm insurance on top of their regular homeowners' policies. Florida's homeowners insurance rates have increased more than 150% since the 165-mph Andrew, which caused $31 billion damage and stands as the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history. For many, additional costs become a burden. For those living on the coast and in Florida, itt's not the storm threat itself that's pushing them out, it's the soaring costs of insurance — $1,000 a year for homeowners, and an additional $2,100 for windstorm coverage, a bill that has tripled in the last five years.