EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

December 11, 2012

Property values down, taxes up in Lawrence

(Continued)

In all, the city expecvts to collect $54.7 million in taxes on real and personal property this year, up 2.5 percent, the maximum allowed without an override.

Neighboring communities saw mixed changes in property values. In Methuen, the drop was steep: the city lost 4.6 percent of its property value between last year and this, dropping from a total of $4.3 billion to $4.1 billion. In Andover, the value of all property was unchanged at $8 billion.

In Lawrence, City Councilor Daniel Rivera, who chairs the council’s budget committee, said he expects the city will lag behind other communities as it recovers from a real estate slump that depressed property values nationwide.

“The overall perception of our community, the ranking of our schools, our poverty rate, all those things (have) an effect,” Rivera said. “People think we’re not a good place to own a single-family home.”

Brenda Rossi, president of the Sacred Heart Neighborhood Association in South Lawrence, said the recovery in the housing market hasn’t reached the ranch she owns on Chester Street.

“For what we were appraised at in 2004, to now, we could never sell it because we’d lose so much money,” Rossi said. “It was appraised at $265,000. If I wanted to sell it now, I couldn’t get $200,000.”

For now, Rossi said it doesn’t really matter.

“I’m not going to sell the house,” she said. “I love the neighborhood.”

Average property values and taxes in Lawrence Average value 2012 Average value 2013 Average tax bill 2012 Average tax bill 2013 Single-family homes $176,836 $167,771 $2,527 $2,522 Two-family homes $188,391 $189,725 $2,692 $2,852 Three-family homes $202,696 $201,908 $2,897 $3,035 Condo units $85,553 $83,683 $1,223 $1,258 Industrial properties $962,622 $937,904 $30,621 $31,529 Commercial properties $321,120 $321,939 $10,215 $10,824 Source: Lawrence Board of Assessors

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