O.C. Property Value Growth Slows Down


Reflecting the nationwide recession, property values in Orange County grew less last fiscal year than they have for any year in a decade, according to annual figures released by the county assessor’s office.

While property values increased 7.45% during the fiscal year that ended June 30, that growth was less than normal for Orange County, which historically has averaged 11.7%.

The 1991-92 local assessment roll, which determines the taxable value of property countywide, lists the county’s total price tag at more than $165 billion. By comparison, the figure was $153.95 billion the previous year.


County officials blame the sluggish growth on the economic downturn and real estate slump. Fewer property sales and a slowdown in construction mean a smaller increase in property values, said Howard Whitcomb, a technical services manager for the assessor’s office.

“This is more a report of the state of the economy of the county than it is important for individual property owners,” Whitcomb said.

The small increase in property values signals more tough times for cities, he said.

Whitcomb said the report illustrates that “growth has been less than normal. In a county with enormous expenses and burdens, it’s one of the reasons the cities are having a tough time meeting needs, since one of the resources of income for cities is property tax.”

Anaheim is worth more than any other city in the county, according to the report.

Valued at $15.33 billion, Anaheim edged out Irvine for the No. 1 slot. Irvine slipped to second place with a valuation of $15.29 billion after ranking first in the county the prior fiscal year.

Huntington Beach ranked third with a value of $11.8 billion. Newport Beach, home to the county’s most expensive property, was close behind with a value of $11.6 billion. Land in Newport Beach is valued at $1.1 million per acre.

Laguna Niguel’s property was valued at $4.8 billion, swelling 12.6%, more than any other city. The value of Villa Park’s upscale properties grew by 8.7%, but the city is assessed at just $569.7 million, the lowest in the county.

Fountain Valley, La Palma, Mission Viejo and Santa Ana are among the slowest-growing cities in the county.

The roll assesses the value of land, buildings, equipment, houses, boats and aircraft. Schools and churches are not included in the assessment.

Where’s the Money?

Anaheim edged out Irvine as the Orange County city with the most highest total property valuation within its borders. But property values in Laguna Niguel increased more than any other city since the last annual assessment.

Assessed Property % Change Rank City Value (in billions) from 1990-91 1 Anaheim $15.33 8.3 2 Irvine 15.29 6.8 3 Huntington Beach 11.80 8.2 4 Newport Beach 11.60 6.3 5 Santa Ana 11.24 5.2 6 Orange 7.36 6.8 7 Costa Mesa 7.08 6.8 8 Fullerton 6.65 6.2 9 Garden Grove 5.67 7.0 10 Mission Viejo 5.43 5.2 11 Laguna Niguel 4.88 12.6 12 Yorba Linda 4.09 9.4 13 San Clemente 3.69 8.4 14 Dana Point 3.65 7.4 15 Buena Park 3.43 6.5 16 Tustin 3.42 7.9 17 Brea 3.26 6.1 18 Fountain Valley 3.13 5.4 19 Westminster 3.12 10.0 20 Laguna Beach 2.96 8.0 21 Cypress 2.43 9.9 22 San Juan Capistrano 2.34 8.5 23 La Habra 2.18 5.4 24 Placentia 1.99 7.4 25 Seal Beach 1.78 6.9 26 Stanton 1.05 6.5 27 La Palma 0.85 5.2 28 Los Alamitos 0.76 6.6 29 Villa Park 0.57 8.7 Unincorporated Areas $18.38 9.1 Orange County Total $165.42 7.5

Note: Figures are assessed values of land and mineral rights, buildings and improvements and personal property within a given area. Not all taxes have been collected.

Source: Orange County assessor