A county tax assessor's report ranking the "Highest Valued Cities" has Valley-area officials beaming about their communities, as they cite all the good things--from parks to low crime rates--they attribute to high property values.
Glendale ranks fourth among Los Angeles County incorporated cities having the highest assessed value of residential and commercial property, a position that city has held for several years. The assessed value of Glendale property stands at $12.87 billion, up 5.8% from $12.16 billion in 1999.
Mayor Dave Weaver, whose father built a home there in 1938, said although Glendale is a large city, it maintains a small-town feel.
"[The figures] are an indication that Glendale is highly desirable," Weaver said. "Where else can you live and be near the mountains and 15 minutes from L.A.? It's got a lot going for it. The property values wouldn't be there if the people didn't believe in this city."
An official in the Los Angeles County assessor's office agrees that Glendale has many attributes that contribute to rising property values.
"It's a prime foothill community that has some very exclusive developments with commanding views that go for top dollar," said Gilbert Parisi, special assistant to the assessor. "It's contiguous to the foothills of Burbank and the prime areas of Pasadena. The accessibility is good because of the freeways near Glendale."
Countywide, the assessor's office reported a gross total of $595 billion in assessed property values, up $37 billion or 6.7% from last year. After exemptions for such properties as religious institutions, libraries and colleges are subtracted, in addition to $8 billion in homeowner exemptions, the county reports a net total of $569 billion in assessed property values this year.
Los Angeles, with its 751,288 parcels, will always top the list because of its sheer size, but generally there is little movement among other cities in the top 10, Parisi said. Long Beach comes in second, followed by Torrance, Glendale, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Pasadena, Santa Clarita, Burbank and Carson.
"It takes a lot of change for a city in the top 10 to move position," Parisi said. "They're pretty anchored in value. They have a tremendous base value."
Santa Clarita again ranked eighth on the list with a 9% annual jump in residential and commercial property values. It ranked seventh in 1998 and ninth in 1997 and 1996.
"It's quite a tribute to our community. I've lived here 20 years and have seen a lot of cheap property. Now, I see quality property," Mayor Jo Anne Darcy said.
Santa Clarita's increasing property values are due to the fact that it's a safe, kid-friendly city with low unemployment that spends 60% of the city budget on parks and related programs, Darcy said. It has a large industrial base, a 15-mile trail system for equestrians and bicyclists, a skateboard park and a new indoor ice skating rink.
"We're still dealing with gridlock at peak times, but we're going to get it down in the next two years," Darcy said. "We're a proactive city. When we see a problem, we go after it."
For the third consecutive year, Burbank was ranked ninth in the county, having placed eighth in 1996 and 1997.
Bob Tague, who's in charge of community development and redevelopment in Burbank, said the expanding entertainment industry and booming job market have helped increase assessed property values in the city.
"We have a lot of new jobs and businesses. That means the little houses that were being sold for $150,000 are now going for $300,000," Tague said. "There's a major amount of refurbishment and gentrification of the city happening at the same time. Land values have soared, and I'm sure they will continue to do so."
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Property Values on the Rise
The assessed value of residential and commercial property throughout Los Angeles County has risen in the past year. Glendale, Santa Clarita, Burbank and Palmdale all made the top 20 list of "Highest Valued Cities" in the county.
Note: Numbers not exact due to rounding.
Source: L.A. County assessor's office