HONOLULU (KHON2) — Property taxes are going up again for homeowners. This after the city released the latest real property assessments showing value increases across the board.

Homeowner Kasandra Shriver said she feels it because the price of everything across the board is increasing.

Get Hawaii’s latest morning news delivered to your inbox, sign up for News 2 You

Shriver owns a house in Kailua. It’s value has gone up once again this year, which means she’ll owe more in taxes.

“This year I’m quite glad that we only saw six percent because last year it was 25 percent the year before that it was 30 percent,” she explained. “So seeing six percent was at least, you can call that somewhat reasonable.”

According to Shriver, that’s a 60 percent increase in the past three years. She said in 2020, she paid $3,300; this year, she’ll likely owe around $4,900 as long as the tax rate does not change.

Shriver is not alone. From the Leeward side to Windward Oahu, according to Andy Kawano, the Director of Budget and Fiscal Services, property values for residential properties have gone up.

According to BFS, the overall average for residential properties island wide have gone up double digits, so every home owner will be paying more.

Kewano said there is a lot that goes into calculating how much a person’s property is worth.

“The properties are valued based on comparable sales in the neighborhood,” Kewano explained. “And that means that the property inventory for properties really have not changed for the prior year. And, buyers are still motivated to buy new residential properties, commercial properties, as such, the prices have continued to increase.”

Honolulu City Council Budget Chair Calvin Say said a lot of the increase in the assessments are based upon the sale of these tangible real estate properties that their neighborhood had a lot of sales in. And, sometimes the real estate market is skewed a little whereby it is the high end homes and the homes that have been rebuilt that add to the valuation of the surrounding community.”

Say added that the increase in the assessments really helped the county in trying to address its shortfall in revenues to the collective bargaining agreements.

“If the revenues were flat, or if we were to, let’s say return some of the assessments, we may not be able to fulfill our obligation in regards to the contracts that they had negotiated,” he explained.

According to Say, the revenue will cover pay raises for public employees like the police, fire fighters and EMS.

“We definitely need those services; there’s no question about it,” Shriver said. “But when we look at what they’ve collected over the last couple of years, you have to imagine that they’ve collected enough that going forward they can ease up a little.”

“[Taxes are] going up; and each year, it goes up; and that makes budgeting and the cost of living here in Hawaii that much more difficult,” said Shriver.

Say said he understands that it is not easy.

“But if I had to make a choice between services, or maintaining the assessment value, I would have to say I like to provide the services,” Say explained.

Homeowners have until January 15th to dispute their real property assessments and file an appeal.

Homeowners under 65 can also apply for a $100,000 exemption for their primary residence.
those 65 and older — many of whom are living on fixed incomes and more likely to be impacted by an increase in taxes — may qualify for a $140,000 dollar tax break.

Get news on the go with KHON 2GO, KHON’s morning podcast, every morning at 8

“I don’t think [the exemption] helps much,” Shriver said. “It’s a $100,000 break for most folks and that equates to about $350 off your total property tax bill, not terribly significant when you’re talking about an overall property tax increase of sometimes $1,000 to $2,500 over the course of a couple of years.”