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The market may still be down, but your taxes are going up

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis December 7, 2009 09:43 AM

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Thatís the frustrating dilemma many homeowners across the Bay State now find themselves in.

Cash-strapped towns and cities are scrambling are boosting residential tax rates as they scramble to find any extra revenue they can.

Boston is expected to announced, as soon as this week, a roughly 10 percent increase to its residential tax rate.

Homeowners in suburban towns are also feeling the pain, officials raising the residential tax rate in Lexington, Braintree and Walpole as well, among others.

The increases, in some cases, are sometimes offset by falling real estate values. But even in a tough market, the decline in a homeís assessed value may not be enough, with the tax rate rising even more.

In Boston, homeowners in neighborhoods like Dorchester and East Boston, where a flood of foreclosures have dragged down prices, may come out roughly even on this yearís tax bill.

Overall, assessments on homes and condos across the city appear to be down about 3 to 5 percent this year, according to various estimates.

But in downtown neighborhoods like the Back Bay and Beacon Hill, the likely increase in the residential tax rate in some cases comes as home and condo values either hold steady or actually increase.

Lexington homeowners will pay nearly $500 more on average this year, even as the assessed value of the average home fell below the $700,000 mark to $691,489.

The value of the average home in Braintree fell 2.6 percent, to $369,789, but the average tax bill will rise by $77.

And in Walpole, homeowners will shell out an extra $128, even as home values in town have plunged from an average of $456,000 in 2008 to $418,000 now.

Happy holidays and get ready to pay up.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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