2016 Municipal Property Tax Overview, Amounts & Mill Rate Chart

Every year, the majority of Oceanview homeowners pay approximately 1.5% of their home’s value to the Municipality of Anchorage in the form of a Municipal Real Property Tax payment.  The actual amount changes annually, depending on three factors: 1. The current year’s municipal assessed home value, 2. The current year’s mill rate ($ fee per $1,000 assessed value), and 3. The current year’s approved municipal homeowner exemptions.  Click on the links at the end of this article for more information on these items.

All homeowners pay property taxes unless their exemptions exceed their assessed value.  The reason I say “the majority of Oceanview homeowners pay approximately 1.5%” is that a minority of homeowners receive senior citizen or disabled veteran exemptions, which significantly lower their annual property tax bill.  Their bill may be less than 1% of their home’s value.  The majority of us receive residential exemptions, but that currently amounts to a 2016 tax reduction of $297.80 in Tax District 3 where we live.  Be sure to check out the links at the end of this article to view the various municipal property tax exemptions for which you may quality.

Mill rates are generally determined by May 15 of each year.  The Muni actually did it by April 28th this year.  The 2016 mill rate for Oceanview homeowners is $14.89 per $1,000 assessed valuation, up 19 cents or 1.29% over last year.  This is the mill rate for tax district #3, which includes Oceanview, along with the majority of Anchorage.  The 2015 mill rate was actually down 28 cents from 2014.  With that said, the majority of Oceanview homeowners paid more property taxes in 2015, since average assessed values increased more than the District 3 mill rate decrease of 1.87%.  A quick survey on my part shows 2016 Oceanview neighborhood assessed property value increases over 2015 ranging in the 2% to 5% range.  As a result, our 2016 property tax bills are up over 2015 as well.  Although you have yet to receive your property tax bill in the mail, 2016 property tax bill amounts are now available online.  Just go to http://www.muni.org/pw/public.html  Enter your name or address, click on “submit search”.  Click on the “Tax ID Number” for your property, then click on the “Taxes” tab once you’re on the property information page.  You’ll see your 2016 tax amounts and due dates midway down the page.  If you have a mortgage on your home, your lender almost always makes the payments from your reserve account.  If you own your home free and clear, you’ll have to make the appropriate payments by the dates specified.  Payments can be made by check, money order, cashier check, travelers check, electronic check or credit card.  The credit card option incurs an additional fee of approximately 2.55%.

The chart below shows 2016 mill rates by Anchorage tax district.  The 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012 mill rate charts are below that for comparison.  A tax district map is for reference below the rate charts.  Be aware that mill rates vary from district to district depending upon Municipal services offered in each district.

2016 Anchorage Property Tax District Mill Rate Chart

2016 Muni Mill Rate Chart2015 Anchorage Property Tax District Mill Rate Chart

2015 Municipal Mill Rate Chart

2014 Anchorage Property Tax District Mill Rate Chart

2014 Muni Mill Rate Chart

2013 Anchorage Property Tax District Mill Rate Chart

Property Tax Mill Rates 2013

2012 Anchorage Property Tax District Mill Rate ChartMOA Property Tax Mill Rate Levy Chart

The map below shows most of the 57 tax districts in the Municipality of Anchorage.  Although it’s dated 2010, the map is the latest version posted on the Municipal website.

MOA Property Tax District Map

The links below are to previous posts regarding various aspects of MOA Real Property Taxes.

Click here for: Municipal Property Tax Important Dates and Information.

Click here for: March 15th: Residential Property Tax Exemption Application Deadline.

Click here for: Have You Taken Advantage Of The Municipal Property Tax Residential Exemption?

Click here for: Are You Taking Advantage Of All Property Tax Exemptions For Which You Are Qualified And Entitled?

Click on http://www.muni.org/Pages/PropertyInformation.aspx to go to the Municipal property tax information website.

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2016 Anchorage Area Real Estate Market 1st Quarter Report

The Alaska MLS compiles statistical information regarding local real estate sales activity on a monthly basis and makes it available to real estate licensees by the 15th of the following month.  The following is my analysis of Anchorage market statistics through the end of March, 2016 for single-family homes and condominiums.

Statistics for the first quarter of 2016 show that we continue to have a strong Anchorage area single family home sales market in the price range up to $500,000.  Although there are currently approximately 30% more homes for sale than this time last year, there’s still only 3.1 months of inventory for sale under $400,000, 4.1 months in the $400,000 to $500,000 range and 5.6 months of inventory in the $500,000 to $750,000 range.  That meets the definition of a strong seller’s market up to $500,000 and a normal market in the $500,000 to $750,000 range.  It’s still a buyer’s market above $750,000 with 10.7 months of inventory in the $750,000 to $1,000,000 range and 23 months of inventory above $1,000,000.  Although the number of sales in all price ranges in January were down 17% from last year, February and March were down less than 1% from the number of sales in their respective months last year.  Overall year to date, the number of sales is down 6% to the 1st quarter last year.  The average year to date sale took 60 days, and sold at an average sales price just a half percentage point less than the same period last year.  The average single family home sales price for the first quarter of 2016 is $351,197, vs. the 2015 1st quarter average of $352,965.  The charts below spell this information out in more detail.  The 1st quarter just gives us a three month snapshot.  Statistics can vary considerably month to month, but by mid-summer we’ll have a strong picture of how the year will end.

March Residential Active Listing Inventory

March Residential Sales - Number Of Units

March Residential Sales - Average Sales Price

March How Much Does A Home In Anchorage Cost TodayThere are currently 13% more condominiums for sale than this time last year.  Inventory for sale is still within a strong, normal range of 3.9 months at current sales rates.  With that said, numbers can vary considerably in different price ranges, such as 1.8 months of inventory in the $150,000-$169,999 range and 7.4 months in the $300,000 to $399,000 range.   Although inventory is up 13% year to date, the number of sales are down only 2% and the average sales price is up 0.5% to the same period last year.  Average sales price year to date is $208,615, vs. last year’s $207,667 for the same time period.  The average time on the market is 66 days vs. 63 days for the same period last year.  These numbers tell that so far, aside from a climb in the inventory, things continue to proceed similar to last year. They’re just taking a tiny bit more time to sell.

March Anchorage Condominium - Number Of Units

March Anchorage Condominium - Average Sales Price

An item that I continue to watch closely is mortgage interest rates.  Current rates for 30 year fixed rate conventional mortgages are 3.625%.  30 year FHA & VA mortgages are at 3.25%.  Last year at this time, rates were also at 3.625% for 30 year conventional loans.  In April, 2014 they were at 4.375% and in April, 2013 they were at 3.5% for 30 year conventionals.  I foresee rates going higher over the next several years, but I’ve been saying that over the past couple of years as well.  Bottom line, current interest rates are very low and have a positive impact on the market.  I can’t make a future rate forecast due to the numerous unforeseeable financial, political and world event factors that can impact rates.  It’s even more interesting this year due to the political arena surrounding our presidential election.  Rates may remain stable for a while, but I definitely foresee them going up sometime in the future.  This concludes my first quarter analysis.

The information or data used in this publication is copyrighted by AK MLS, Inc. and no portion may be reproduced, redistributed or retransmitted without the express permission of AK MLS, Inc. Further, AK MLS, Inc. does not warrant the accuracy of the information or data contained herein.

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2016 Municipal Appraised Home Values Now Available For Review

If you go online today to www.muni.org/pw/public.html, just enter your address to take a look at your home’s 2016 Municipal Property Tax assessed value.  Per Municipal guidelines, 2016 values were published today, January 15th.  In the next couple of days, you should receive a green postcard in the mail as well.  The postcard will give you the same 2016 assessed valuation information you can find online today.

You’ll most likely see a 2% -5% increase in your home’s assessed value over last year.  However, that can vary considerably from home to home depending on Municipal evaluation of location, condition, inspection results and a laundry list of other variables.  A minority of homeowners will find their 2016 valuation the same or less than last year.

Your home’s assessed value has a direct impact on your 2016 Municipal Property Tax bill.  When 2016 mill rates are finalized in mid-May, you’ll know exactly what the bill amounts will be for your June 15 and August 15 due dates.  The mill rate is multiplied by your home’s assessed value, divided by 1,000 to get the total bill amount.

Example: A mill rate of $15.04 times a $350,000 assessed value, divided by 1,000 equals a total tax bill of $5,264.  $2,632 will be due June 15th and $2,632 will be due August 15th.

For more information about Municipal property tax exemptions, valuations, dates of importance, etc., just page down to review the other articles I’ve written on this topic.

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Municipal Property Tax: Important Dates and Information

The following information pertains to Municipality of Anchorage Real Property Taxes. “Real Property” is defined by the Municipality as “land and improvements to land, such as; buildings, structures and fixtures of any kind thereon”.  To Oceanview homeowners, this means our house, along with any improvements and the lot it sits on.

No later than January 15th: The Municipal Assessor’s Office mails out Real Property Valuation notices to homeowners no later than this date.  Notification comes in the form of a green postcard that will have the MOA’s determination of your land value and building value as of January 1.  These numbers are totalled to determine the assessed value upon which your property taxes will be based.  Since this is “public information”, the MOA makes no effort to hide the card in an envelope.  The card will also have the deadline date by which you must file any appeal.  The deadline is 30 days after the card mailing date.

Keep in mind that your assessed value is the MOA’s estimate of your home’s market value.  What is market value?  As a Realtor, I can tell you that it boils down to what that pool of buyers out there is willing to pay for your home.  That number can change on a quarterly basis, which is why the MOA uses January 1 as their market value date.  Bottom line, the MOA has a very difficult task.  With a limited staff of a couple dozen appraisers and over ninety thousand of property parcels that must be assessed each year, it’s a highly computerized process with some human oversight.  They are further inhibited by limited sales information since Alaska is a “non-disclosure state”.  There is no legal requirement for you to report the sales price of your home, so most people don’t.  The municipal goal is to do a “site visit” every six years to keep up with any external changes to your home.  At the very least, this amounts to a review of satellite photos, and a drive by with photos to see if you added a new deck, garage or other taxable improvement.

Click here on or after January 15, 2016 to see your 2016 Public Inquiry Parcel Details and assessed valuation.  Just type in your address.  Once there, be sure to click on the “Comparable Sales” tab to see the five comps they used to value your home for 2016.  If you significantly disagree with your valuation and wish to discuss it, the MOA suggests that you visit the Assessor’s Office at 632 W. 6th Ave, Suite 330 or call 343-6770 as soon as you can prior to the appeal filing deadline.  Remember, that deadline is 30 days after your card was mailed.  Walk in and go to the counter with specific information as to why you disagree and what you think the value should be.  If you’ve purchased the home at a lower price within the last six months and have the sale’s appraisal report with a lower price, you should have a strong argument.  If the MOA property improvement data is wrong, have some proof.  In other words, this is an informal appeal, but be informed and prepared to show why you disagree.  They are equipped to review and adjust values, if warranted.  I’ve walked in twice in the past ten years and successfully obtained a downward value adjustment.  The third time I was denied and filed an appeal.  Read about it below.

30 Days Later:  Approximately February 13 to 15th.  Verify this date on your “green card”:  This is the appeal filing deadline.  In other words, if you were unsuccessful with your informal walk-in appeal and wish to file a formal appeal, you must do it by this date.  It must be in writing on the Board of Equalization’s approved form along with a check for the filing deposit.  My personal opinion, based on my personal experience, is that this can be a time-consuming and frustrating process…..so be prepared.  A couple of notes if you do file for appeal: 1. Show up early for the hearing!  The Board hears appeals in the order of your arrival.  I filed an appeal several years ago because the MOA had raised my property’s assessed value 45% over the previous three years.  I arrived on time for my hearing, but I had to sit through four hours of appeals (averaging 30 minutes each) before my appeal was heard.  The other folks had arrived before me, so I heard their appeals and got a bit of an education.  All of their appeals were denied but one.  The one that resulted in a reduction in value was for an elderly couple whose basement had been flooded and was deemed unlivable.  My appeal was denied as well.  2. Know what you’re doing!  I had come prepared with an abundance of comparable sales information but learned during my hearing that due to the Municipal “Improvement Data Grade” on my home, only comps with a grade of A- or better were acceptable to the Board.  I subsequently learned that on the MOA Public Inquiry Parcel Details description, my house had an Improvement Data Grade of “Very Good”.  Per the Board, that equaled an A- and most of my comps were B+’s, therefore useless.  The MOA uses Excellent, Very Good, Good, Average, etc., for their Improvement Data Grades.  The equivalent school grade usage may have been limited to that particular board, since I have not been able to find it explained in writing anywhere.  Regardless, these grades are assigned by the MOA at time of construction.  They apparently remain unchanged, regardless of how dated your home might currently be.  You could challenge your assigned grade…..but plan on more work, and calling or visiting the Assessor’s Office for more information.  It might result in one of the MOA appraisers conducting a walk-through of your home’s interior, in your presence, with your authorization.

March 15th:  This is the Owner Occupied Residential, Senior Citizen and/or Disabled Veteran Exemption filing deadline.  Click here to read more about the Residential Property Tax Exemption and how to save $300/year on your tax bill if you haven’t already applied.   Click here to read more about all of the Municipal Property Tax Exemptions.

May 15th:  Real Property Tax Bills are mailed out.  It takes this long to get your bill because the municipal budget has to be approved and the majority of tax valuation appeals completed in order for the MOA to determine the tax mill rate.  In 2015, in Oceanview, the mill rate was $14.70 per $1,000 valuation.  The 2016 mill rate will likely be a little more, and our property values are likely to be higher.  Click here to see the 2015 Mill Rate Chart.  Oceanview residents live in tax district #3.  If you live somewhere else, your tax district # will appear in the top part of your home’s Public Inquiry Parcel Details sheet obtained via the 1st link in this article above.

The majority of homeowners have a mortgage on their property with a lender required reserve account into which a portion of the monthly mortgage payment is deposited and held for annual property tax and homeowner’s insurance payments by the lender.  If this is your case, your lender will pay the bill from your reserve account.  Your only responsibility is to verify proper and timely payment.  In any other case, you must pay by the dates below.

June 15th: 1st Half Real Property Tax installment due.

August 15th: 2nd Half Real Property Tax installment due.

Click here to go to the MOA Property Appraisal website.

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Are You Taking Advantage Of All Of The Property Tax Exemptions For Which You Are Qualified And Entitled?

There are currently eight types of Municipal Property Tax Exemptions which can reduce a homeowner’s property taxes.  A homeowner may qualify for multiple exemptions which may reduce their property taxes significantly.  They are as follows:

  1. Residential Exemption: Up to $20,000 of Assessed Valuation.
  2. Senior Citizen Exemption: Up to $150,000 of Assessed Valuation.
  3. Disabled Veteran Exemption: Up to $150,000 of Assessed Valuation.
  4. Military Service Widow/Widower Exemption: Up to $150,000 of Assessed Valuation.
  5. Disaster Exemption: Variable
  6. Fire Protection Exemption: Up to 2% of Building Assessed Valuation.
  7. Business Property Exemption: Up to $20,000 of Assessed Valuation.
  8. Non-Profit Exemption: Up to Assessed Valuation.

Click on the link below to get more complete information:


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March 15th: Residential Property Tax Exemption Application Deadline

In April 2005, Anchorage voters adopted Anchorage Municipal Code 12.15.015, a new ‘residential exemption’ program allowing the Municipality to exempt $20,000 of the municipal assessed property value of a homeowner’s primary residence from taxation.  If the property value is less than $200,000, then 10% of the property value is exempt.   The majority of homeowners reading this article have already completed their one-time application and are receiving the benefits of this program.  For those who haven’t…..read on.  This program is available only to those who file their residential exemption application by March 15th and who meet the qualification requirements below.  Your primary residence will continue to automatically receive this exemption each subsequent year without further filing unless the subject property no longer qualifies for the exemption.  If there is any change in your original qualification status, you must notify the Municipal Assessor’s Office.

There was a fair amount of publicity at the time of this program’s inception, but not much since then.  As a result, a number of Oceanview homeowners who purchased their primary residence subsequent to 2005 are unaware of this exemption.  If they qualify and complete the application, it will save them approximately $300 per year for every year they own and occupy their home as their primary residence.  Here’s how the savings is calculated: For 2015, all Oceanview homeowners’ property was taxed at a ‘mill rate’ of $14.70 per $1,000 of assessed property value.  A $20,000 reduction in value (20 X $14.70 = $294.00) meant a property tax reduction of $294.00.  Since the actual mill rate for 2016 will not be finalized until May, I don’t have an exact 2016 savings dollar amount, but I think I can accurately forecast that it will $300, or slightly more.

To qualify for this exemption per the Municipality of Anchorage:

  • Application must be completed, submitted and accepted by the Assessor to qualify for the exemption.
  • The applicant(s) must be the owner(s) of record prior to January 1st of the exemption year.
  • Upon initial application, the eligible applicant must have been a resident of the State of Alaska for the entire year prior to the exemption year;
  • The property has been owned and occupied as the primary residence and permanent place of abode of an eligible applicant for at least 185 days in the year prior to January 1 of the exemption year.
  • In each subsequent year, the property shall be owned and occupied as the primary residence and permanent place of abode of the eligible applicant for at least 185 days prior to January 1 of the exemption year.
  • It shall be the responsibility of every person who obtains an exemption under this section to notify the assessor of any change in ownership, property use, residency, permanent place of abode or other factor affecting qualification of the exemption.

2016 Residential Property Tax Exemption Application

The above form is exactly what the Residential Property Tax Exemption Application form looks like.  Click here to download a printable copy of the 2016 Residential Property Tax Exemption Application from the Municipal Website. 

Remember, the application must be received or postmarked by March 15th.  Per the Municipality of Anchorage, it is the property owner’s responsibility to ensure receipt of the application by the MOA by mail or submitting in person. If you desire information about other Municipal property tax exemptions click on the link below:

Are You Taking Advantage Of All Of The Municipal Property Tax Exemptions For Which You Are Entitled And Qualified?

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Scam Phone Calls in Our Neighborhood!……along with the rest of the world.

A number of us still have home phones, but it’s something we see less and less these days.  Frankly, it just seems to be bait for scam telephone calls in today’s world.  The only reason I still have a home phone number is that GCI told me that if we got rid of it, our monthly payment would actually go up due to the “package plan” we’re currently on.  I’ll have to do some research in the cable/internet/telephone market arena one of these days and look at the alternatives.  Anyway, back to the topic!  It may also be that scam callers do their online research and target certain age groups as well.  Here are some examples of calls I received in the latter half of 2015 on my home phone:

I received a call with a recorded message.  The message did not mention any names or identify who the call was intended for.  In the message, a female identifying herself as an “officer” with the IRS said she was calling to warn the recipient to call back immediately or the IRS would take immediate action.  Caller ID showed the number as 585-444-7121, a New York area code.  I knew immediately that this was a scam and typed the phone number into my online search engine.  I was amazed at the findings.  Hundreds and hundreds of people had received similar scam messages and phone calls from the same phone number and had posted information online.  Apparently, this is a scam originating from outside the U.S. using technology to route their calls through a New York number.

I was inspired by my research to call the number back.  A male with a foreign accent answered, “Internal Revenue Service”.  I could hear other people talking in the background with foreign accents, as if it were a call center.  I immediately asked him if he was operating from India or Pakistan and he replied “Pakistan”.  I asked him why he was a participant in this scam and he told me that it was due to “a lack of jobs and income”.  He was actually somewhat cordial on the phone, but hung up on me within a minute.  I don’t know if there was any honesty in his answers, but yes….THIS IS A SCAM.  APD said I was the 5th caller reporting the IRS scam phone call that morning and suggested posting online and/or reporting to the IRS, FCC or FBI.  The IRS simply doesn’t call Americans!  With that said, I received several more similar “IRS calls” in subsequent weeks.

Later, the scam calls switched to a different theme.  Over the following weeks I received half a dozen calls from scammers with foreign accents claiming to be from “Window’s Support” and that they had detected significant errors in my “home computer”.  They all wanted me to sit down at the computer and tell them what was on the screen.  In each case, I replied “icons”.  In almost every case I was then asked to look at my “keyboard and press the 2nd key from the left on the bottom row” and they would resolve my problems.  I never did, because I wasn’t going to allow them access in any way, shape or form.  With that said, I played along with them on several occasions.  One time, I asked where the caller was calling from and he replied, “San Jose, California”.  Since I had already completed a quick online check and determined the caller’s phone number had a Georgia area code, I said, “I meant, which country are you calling from….India, Pakistan?  He said, “No, San Jose, California.”  I then said, “Why would I be getting a scam call from Silicon Valley.”  He immediately hung up.  By the way, these scammers use fake caller ID numbers.  It’s easy to do if you’re in the scam business!

Another “Windows” caller with a foreign accent said he was calling from San Jose as well.  I asked him if San Jose was in Nevada and he said yes.  Then I said, “OK, so you’re right next door to Chicago then”….and he said yes.  I played along with him for another 10 minutes before he gave up and hung up.

Bottom line!  Be aware that there are a number of scams taking place around the world these days.  Both the IRS at http://www.irs.gov/uac/Tax-Scams-Consumer-Alerts and Microsoft at http://www.microsoft.com/security/online-privacy/avoid-phone-scams.aspx have information on their websites about these scams and how to report them.  It’s a constantly changing environment, so be sure to report scams in order to keep enforcement and protection up-to-date.

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