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Values up in county assessor’s report

By now most property owners in Washington County have received their property value statements.

The numbers reflect increased values in cities like Woodbury and Cottage Grove, and a plethora of new housing units in the two south Washington County suburbs.

“We’re at a five-year high,” said County Assessor Bruce Munneke. “It seems like we’re coming out of the depth.”

Washington County released the 2014 assessment report last week where residential and commercial sales in addition to property values were highlighted.

Woodbury’s total residential values increased by 15.6 percent, while Cottage Grove’s went up by 12.2 percent and St. Paul Park’s grew by 16.2 percent.

Though the values have gone up in the county, it doesn’t mean that all taxes will increase, officials say. Values are used to disperse the tax burden, not create it.

Other highlights of the report include data regarding foreclosure and lender-mediated sales.

Woodbury’s lender-mediated sales declined from 291 last year to 263 this year, while border city Cottage Grove saw 183 foreclosures and short sales, down from 226 last year.

The trend is reflected throughout the county with lender-mediated sales declining by a total of 201, according to the report.

Countywide, there were a total of 2,512 sales including 758 townhomes – a sign of a recovering economy, according to Munneke, who said townhomes and condos suffered during the height of the recession.

Another positive sign was increasing property values throughout the county. All cities experienced growth in total residential values except for Birchwood and Dellwood, which saw slight decreases.

Woodbury’s 2014 values were assessed at a total of $6.2 billion, up 15.6 percent from last year, according to the assessment report.

Cottage Grove’s values increased by 12.2 percent to $2.4 billion, St. Paul Park’s residential values added up to around $292 million and Newport totaled $175 million.

The overall growth in values countywide totals a 13 percent increase. “This is growth, this does not include new construction,” Munneke emphasized.

However, the report also states a few cities that didn’t see any commercial activity this year brought the growth value in that category down about 1 percent.

But cities like Cottage Grove, Forest Lake, Hugo, Oakdale and Woodbury added hundreds of new parcels contributing to a county total of 3,933 commercial units.

All of the activity, including commercial, industrial, residential single family and townhomes, Munneke said, contributed to increasing property values all across the board.

“Ninety-two percent of our properties went up this year,” he said, calling it a “big change from last year.”

The county assessor’s office conducts four regional meetings to discuss the report and allow for public comment. The first one will be held at Cottage Grove City Hall Thursday, April 3. The next is at Oakdale City Hall Wednesday, April 9 and Woodbury’s is slated for Thursday, April 17 at Woodbury City Hall. All meetings are held from 5-7 p.m.                                         

Riham Feshir
Riham Feshir is a reporter and photographer for the Woodbury Bulletin. Her coverage includes Woodbury City Hall, Washington County Board of Commissioners and business news.  Follow Riham on Twitter @RihamFeshir for the latest updates.