By Bob Dutton, San Bernardino County Assessor
In June 2015 the assessment roll contained 820,314 taxable parcels and was valued at $186,894,462,703, which represented a 5.077% net increase as compared to the 2014 assessment roll. Our office reported that the primary reasons for the increase in value were sales of existing homes, Proposition 8 recovery of assessed values, and the Proposition 13 Consumer Price Index adjustment. New construction also contributed to the increase but to a lesser degree.
The 2015 assessment roll finally reached and surpassed the previous high achieved in 2008 before the collapse of the real estate market. Three of the cities with the highest increases were all located in the High Desert, including Hesperia at 7.8 %, Victorville at 6.7 %, and Adelanto at 6.5%.
When looking at historic trends for the High Desert, we see that the assessment roll for all cities is increasing since the drop in values experienced in 2009. The upward trend is a positive sign and many of the same drivers for the County as a whole are responsible for the upward trend in the High Desert. In general, people are taking advantage of the affordability of homes in the market. Moreover, little of this upward trend is due to new construction. Approximately 12 % of the increase was due to construction, unlike the 2006-2007 valuations when 60 % of the value increase was due to new construction.
This bodes well for the High Desert. While I am optimistic about the region, the greatest need is for new business start-ups. Based on personal experience over the course of my career, I think the greatest judge of a healthy economy is small business growth.
The High Desert has all the right components for healthy growth, such as low cost land, affordable homes, basic infrastructure, and a pro-business approach from the County and High Desert cities. I think the renewable energy opportunities that are unique to the region are another benefit to business growth.
Looking back over the course of my career in both the private and public sectors, I was fortunate to have participated in encouraging: the redevelopment of Ontario Motor Speedway, which ultimately became Ontario Mills; the development of Victoria Gardens; expansion of Ontario International Airport; and the billions of dollars invested in goods movement and transportation infrastructure for the Inland Empire, as well as helping to bring Amazon to our region. All of these projects are significant long-term catalysts for ongoing economic growth and development opportunity.
Now I look at the current trends and believe that the future is bright, especially because our County, including the Assessor’s department, is committed to delivering a friendly and fair business environment. This is all part of my work to help San Bernardino County be recognized as the best place to live, work and raise a family.