New Home Assessment Data from Larry Ward

The word is out from our County Assessor, Clerk Recorder Larry Ward – another round of declines for property taxes in Riverside County. This makes three straight years of dropping assessments, a year longer than the last go-around in the 90’s.

But a couple of things have changed. This year many of the dropped assessments will go to commercial properties, which are continuing to lag residential properties. When I spoke with Larry earlier this year he was hopeful there would not be a need for further reductions this year after taking property values for the county back to roughly 2002 levels last year. Indeed as we have seen from my reports, residential values have remained virtually flatlined through the past 24 months after dropping over 50% in the previous 18 months. Assessed property values for the county for 2011 will be just over $200 billion, down over 16% from their peak of $243 billion in 2008.

This will be felt next year by the county as well as our cities, who are struggling to keep services afloat. Property taxes are the single largest source of operating funds for our cities and county and a substantial and real drop as we have experienced puts a real crimp in budgets, especially following the recent state decisions to further plunder city coffers of redevelopment funds, vehicle license fees and some of the basic operating funds cities have always counted on to get by. For the county it will mean a drop of nearly $5 million in property tax revenue from their earlier estimate of $266 million, a reduction of nearly 1% from their current budget of $582 million.

A second major change from Ward’s office is in the way the changes will be reported to property owners. Every year along about this time people got used to seeing a little postcard in their mailbox telling them what next years assessed value on their home would be. This year that’s not happening. In an effort to shave $200,000 from his budget, Ward will be posting the new assessments on-line on July 15. You can review your property tax assessment at If you don’t have internet access, well then you’re probably not reading this but in case you know somebody who may not browse, they can obtain a written assessment by calling 951-955-6200. They could also write to

Assessor, County Clerk, Recorder Larry Ward
P.O.B. 12004
Riverside CA  92502-2204

One final change tis year. If you think your assessed value should be higher or lower, it might cost you to find out. There has been debate among the County Supervisors to charge a fee to challenge your assessment. Should your challenge prevail and the property re-assessed, the fee would be refunded. But if the initial assessment stands then you will forfeit that fee. This has been proposed for two reasons – first as a cost measure to help defray some of the expense of researching individual properties after the process has already been done. Second, to minimize the rash of frivolous filings that occurs every year without foundation. Appears the only time people want their home to be worth less than it actually is is for tax purposes. And while this is understandable, your ‘gut feel’ of what your home is hopefully worth for tax purposes costs the county a lot of money to show you otherwise and that is being addressed by the new fee structure. If  you purchased your home after January 1, 1999, chances are Larry’s got you covered. He’s been one of the most aggressive and accurate Recorders in the state as far as making sure you aren’t over taxed.


Property re-evaluation time. Check here for Prop 8 info.

Riverside County Assessor/Clerk/Recorder Larry Ward has published information on Proposition 8. Unlike some counties, in Riverside Larry takes the initiative to automatically evaluate property values every year and has reduced values (and taxes) in each of the past 3 years. The office is in the midst of looking at the market again this year to see if a wholesale reassessment will again be utilized or if the demand might be met by simply allowing individual homeowners to file their own reassessment requests if they think their values have declined further during the past 12 months (for the most part, they have not). However, if you would like to find out more and get a copy of what you’ll need to file if you do, please visit Larry by clicking on his homepage.

Also note the prominent warning about the so-called ‘Riverside County Tax Authority’ mailer soliciting $167 to produce a copy of your grant deed. Larry will be happy to get you one for about $10 or $20 bucks. Don’t get conned. Check with the authority first.

larry ward

Re-elect Riverside County Assessor/Recorder Larry Ward

Riverside County Assessor/Recorder Larry Ward has been a good friend to Realtors®. His door is always open to Realtor® concerns, he has visited our Association and answered questions for our Broker/Owner Group and he regularly speaks at HELP meetings throughout the county answering questions for home owners about property taxes, Proposition 8 and how to avoid foreclosure.

Larry is running for re-election this year and will be holding a luncheon next week at the Riverside Marriott. The Southwest Riverside County Association of Realtors® is supporting Larry’s campaign and we would encourage any of you who are interested or have benefited from Larry’s policies to support him as well and attend this event.

Please contact me with any questions. You can click anywhere on the flyer to RSVP.


New County Annual Report Available


County Assessor/Clerk/Recorder Larry Ward has just released his 2009-2010 Annual Report and it’s chock full of all kinds of exciting stuff – and some not so exciting.

I’ll just tease you with a few details but for the full scoop you’ve got to follow the link at the bottom to find the details.

For example, did you know that:

  • The Riverside County tax roll value (before exemptions) dropped 10.51% last year – from $242.98 Billion to $217.44?
  • There are 500,292 single family residences in the County worth $120,318,983,044. They represent 57.54% of the tax base with an average value of $240,498?
  • 253,364 of those received a reduction in assessed value last year averaging $144,432 and a total of $36,593,784,694 was lopped off the tax rolls as a result? That’s 15.44% of the total.
  • Indian Wells has 4 of the 5 largest homes in the county at 22,597; 20,499,; 19,188; and 18,404 SqFt. Palm Desert snuck in #2 at 20,667?
  • The Palm Desert place is assessed at $26,619,674 while the Indian Wells places are $16,611,951; 12,180,881; 11,935,337 and $11,736,743? (He doesn’t say if they applied for a reduction in value last year).
  • There were 36,191 appeals last year, up from 12,330 in 2008 and 2,909 in 2007. Remember those days?
  • In Murrieta there were 19,113 homes re-assessed under Prop 8. Gross Value Assessment rolls dropped 14.92% from $11,885,525,613 to $10,112,353,803?
  • In Temecula there were 16,110 homes re-assessed. GVA dropped 11.33% from 13,537,557,997 to $12,003,546,129?
  • The top business in the County based on Business Personal Property was Abbott Vascular. International Rectifier came in at #14?

Well, there’s a ton more great info available – the report runs to 40 pages of numbers, charts & graphs and a terrific summary of each of our cities. . You can find the whole shebang right here: Assessor/Clerk/Recorder 2009-2010 Annual Report.

Prop 8 Tax Relief Expanded back to 2001!

I spoke with Riverside County Assessor/Clerk/Recorder Chief Larry Ward yesterday about Prop 8 property tax reductions this year. He wanted everyone to know 2 things and communicate it to their clients.

  • EVERYBODY who had an adjustment last year will automatically be re-evaluated this year. Last year, you may recall, they re-assessed every property in the county that had been purchased since 2004. Those Buyers will get another swing at reducing their taxes – and with property values off by as much as 30% in some cases, chances are good they will save a few more greenbacks this year.
  • This year – EVERYBODY who purchased a home since 2001 will automatically be re-assessed. They figure County-wide, our prices are roughly back to 2001 levels so rather than being bombarded by individual requests, they’ll just do it by area and year and save everybody the trouble.

I know a number of people I’ve spoken with who got a re-assess last year didn’t feel it represented the current value of their home too acurately – but if you do have a problem with it you can always file an appeal at the time. They’ll notify you of your new value in July and you have until September to file.

Remember – if you do decide to file that Reduction in Value Form, don’t pay anyone up-front to provide the numbers. A reputable Realtor can help you out.

For a complete rundown please visit: The Riverside County Assessor – County Clerk – Recorders office.