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Comparison of assessed valuations with actual sales for the years 1938–40 and

1945–47, also the assessed valuation for 1948Continued

RESIDENTIAL PROPERTIES (175)—Continued

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Square

2555 2571 2588 2603 2618 2658. 2660 2661 2662 2756 2786. 2786. 2787 2796. 2801 2866 2922 2955 2980 3000 3023 3026. 3037 3083 3105 3106 3111 3113 3124 3153 3822 3829 (W) 3994. 4409 1171 4473 4195 5608 5674 6148 6149

$6,914 $13,500 $7,954 • 2, 167 8,350 2, 427

7, 377 14,750 8, 577 9, 474 11, 500 10, 934 9, 263 17,500 10, 763 23, 144 35,000

26, 704 8, 040 17,000 9, 120 8,833 15, 750 9, 953 5, 560 10,000 8, 480 27, 216 28,000 31, 816 9, 304 17,000 10, 904 8, 076 19, 500 9, 476 8, 248 20,000 9, 648 9, 680 13,000 11, 580 7, 097 14,000 7, 997 9, 490 19,500 10, 730 6, 979 17,000 8, 239 12,628 24, 500 14, 528 6,500 13, 500 7, 540 3, 462 11,000 4,022 5, 576 8, 450 6,816 5,383 15,000 6, 980 7, 560 18,500 8. 420 1. 844 6,500

2,064 4, 700 11, OCO 5, 400 4, 494 7, 750 5, 174 6, 120 10,000 7, 020 3,810 9,000 4, 390 6, 512 11, 500 7, 532 4, 956 11, 500

5, 556 4, 683 12, 500 5, 543 4. 435 9,000 5, 245 8,532 21, 500 9, 972 5, 623 14,000 6. 583 5, 385

12, 000 6, 365 4, 317 6, 500

4, 917 3, 55! 10,000 4, 159 5, 284 14, 000 6, 224 1,011 2, 500 1, 011 5, 304 14,000 6, 264

5, 632 12,500 6, 572 1, 458, 796 2,657,517 1, 659, 453

BUSINESS PROPERTIES (45)

206. 237 247 248 253 377 139 209 377 137 374. 373 373. 372 107 107 136. 139 158. 158

209.
800.
810, 811
14, 805.
824.
800.
6.
50, 850.
806.
812.
838.
819.
823.
800, 820.
59, 824, 853.
807.
29
5.
64.
821
841
807
115.
803
89.
12
851
802.

1939 1940 1939 1939 1940 1940 1939 1938 1938 1939 1939 1939

1939 1939-40 1938-39 1939 1939 1940 1939 1940 1940 1939 1940 1939 1940 1940 1940 1940

$14, 250
52, 400
90, 782
79, 325
75, 204
59, 960
17, 400
42. 048
76, 252
47, 534
11, 518
22, 558
26, 586
38, 950
110, 318
17, 406
29, 665
16. 480
21, 856
24, 600
23, 431
51, 344
17, 448
10. 325
6, 604
7, 925
5, 402
13, 498

$12, 000
36,500
74,375
82, 000
54, 000
40,000
12, 500
49, 800
85,000
41, 500

7, 800
16, 800
32, 000
30, 750
97, 000
24, 000
21, 500
15, 250
16, 500
25,000
17,000
44, 300
21, 500
10,000

1945 1945 1946 1945 1946 1945 1945 1945 1946 1945 1945 1946 1945 1945 1946 1946 1946 1946 1945 1945 1945 1946 1945 1946 1945 1946 1946 1946

$13, 200
52, 400
75, 930
55, 125
65. 325
59, 960
16, 480
42, 048
76, 252
40, 445
11, 518
21, 213
23, 655
30, 244
110, 318
17, 406
23, 699
16, 480
21, 856
24, 600
23, 251
74, 070-
17, 448
10, 325
7,004
9, 625
5, 420
13, 498

$18, 750

47, 000 130,000 165, 000 125,000 75,000 17, 500 62, 000 87, 500 60, 000 14, 250 25, 500 35,000 45,000 190, 000 44,500 47,000 26, 000 34,500 29,000 35, 000 100, 000 25, 000 14, 000 12, 500 19,000 14,000 25, 000

$13, 700 44, 920 94, 450 110, 250 85, 269 59, 960 18, 600 49, 048 78, 160 42, 534 12,018 23, 213 25, 655 53, 445 150, 932 27, 132 27, 665 18, 600 24, 856 27,000 23, 431 93, 588 19, 228 11, 725

159

6,025 10, 500

4, 500 15,000

7, 624 10, 125

5, 802 14, 098

163. 181 191. 193 194. 209 213

Mr. DENT. I would like to make this observation, Mr. Bates, that back in 1937 and 1938, a survey of properties in some of the older residential sections of the city indicated that our assessments were 35 percent above selling prices, obsolescence having taken place in various sections of the city, and when you get to talking about full value assessments, it is difficult to give an over-all picture.

Mr. Bates. That is right. I well understand the difficulty that assessors have in that respect.

Mr. DENT. I would like to give you, if you will give me the time, a little picture as to valuations in other cities.

Now, as you well know, there has been a tremendous lot of discussion over many years as to the question of the tax rate in the District of Columbia The tax rate is only one factor in the formula for determining the real estate tax so that in order to make any comparison between the District's tax rate and the tax rate that prevails in other cities, we must get to the ratio of the assessed valuation to true value.

From the Municipal Year Book that is published annually by the Association of City Managers, they published the ratio of assessed valuation to full value of cities in various populations groups. recently went over those figures, and I looked at the group in which Washington was located; that is the population group between a half million and a million. I find out that the actual assessed value places Washington at the top of the list. Mr. BATES. That is a ratio of assessed value to true value.

a Mr. Dent. The ratio of assessed value to true value. Now, if you take the ratio as given to you by the assessing authority in those cities, for instance, 40, 50 percent or 100 percent, and you apply a full value to the assessed value, I still find that Washington is at the top of the group by that formula.

To show you that I do not put very much faith in these ratios because, as I understand it, they are simply a figure that is given by whoever may be in charge of the assessors office to this association, I can show you cases, taking the period between 1940 and 1945—let us take, for instance, the city of Cleveland which said in 1940 that they were on an 80 percent ratio. They stated in 1945 that they had gone to a hundred percent full value assessment. Yet in that period their assessed valuation dropped $221,000,000. That does not seem reasonable.

St. Louis, which was on an 85 percent ratio in 1940 went to 100, and they lost 177 million. Buffalo was only 84-percent valuation, went to 92, and they lost $137,000,000. So, I say that you cannot put a great

Ι deal of credence in what these ratios actually are. It does not seem reasonable to me that a city which goes from an 80 percent valuation to a hundred percent valuation should lose millions of dollars in the assessed valuation. It should show an increase, particularly, in view of the fact that there must be some new construction going up in that city during that period.

Mr. BATEs. Have you inquired about it?

Mr. Dent. I have written to all the cities in our population group. I wrote to them primarily to find out a thing that I think has a very important bearing on the assessed valuation of a city, and that is what portion of that city, of the area of that city, is taxable. As you know, the District of Columbia only has 49 percent that is taxable.

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Of all of those cities, I could get no reply as to that; I could get information as to one city, the city of Boston.

Mr. BaTEs. In other words, the boards of assessors were rather hesitant about giving any information about their property:

Mr. DENT. Yes, sir. I cannot see any reason for not giving that information; the thing is, what portion of the city is taxable. Boston was the only one that gave me a figure, which was 62.5 percent. The rest of them said they had no information on the subject. New York City said that 100 percent of the city was taxable which, of course, I know is not true, because further on in their letter they said the valuation of their exempt property was so many millions of dollars, so it is practically impossible to get any figures from these other cities that will give you any comparison.

Mr. Bates. This same table that I gave, Mr. Dent, on the ratio of assessed value to full value, that shows Baltimore 100 percent, Boston 100 percent, Washington 90 percent; there are nine cities between five and a million population, is that right?

Mr. DENT. Yes, sir.

Mr. BATES. Now, you will note that the average assessment is 84 percent, is that right, of those 9 cities?

Mr. Dent. That appears to be about right, because there are 5 at 100 percent, and San Francisco is 50 percent.

Mr. BATES. And, of course, San Francisco at 50 percent, that brings the average down, so that you are on a basis of 90 percent while the average of those cities is about 84 percent.

Mr. DENT. Yes, sir, that is what they say.

Mr. BATES. That is 1940, and that checks out pretty well with the statement that you prepared here on these 200 properties, which are assessed here well up into the high percent bracket.

Mr. Dent. Now, on a per capita basis, that is another way that you can look at it. Taking the actual assessed value without taking a percentage to arrive at a full value, we find that Washington ranks second in 38 cities having a population of 250,000 and above. We are only exceeded by New York which has a per capita assessment of $2,200, Washington with $1,800, and the lowest is Št. Paul, with $380 per capita.

Mr. Bares. You have not given me those figures yet.

Mr. Dent. No, I do not think I sent you that statement, Mr. Bates. I will be glad to do so. I have all 38 cities over 250,000. New York, to be exact, is $2,209; Washington, D. C., $1,827, and then it goes on down until we get to the bottom with St. Paul, Minnesota, at $382.

(The matter referred to above is as follows:)

City

Real estate assessment,

1940

Population,

1910

Per capita assessment

New York, N. Y
Washington, D. C.
Jersey City, N.J
Boston, Mass
Syracuse, N. Y
Rochester, N. Y
Buffalo, N. Y
Cincinnati, Ohio
Providence, R. I.
Pittsburgh, Pa.

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$16, 470, 154, 000
1, 211, 208, 484

543, 131,000
1,379, 409, 000

347, 106, 000
531, 377,000
937, 473, 000
740, 468,000

404, 602, 000
1,047, 024, 000

7, 454.995

663, 091 301, 173 770.816 205, 967 324, 975 575, 901 455, 610 253, 504 671, 659

$2, 209

1, 827 1, 803 1, 790 1, 685 1.635 1, 628 1, 625 1, 596 1, 559

City

Real estate assessment,

1940

Population,

1940

Per capita assessment

----

$1.41

1, 1.35

1.11

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Newark, NJ.
Philadelphia, Pa
Milwaukee, Wis.
Baltimore, Md.
Toledo, Ohio
Cleveland, Ohio.
St. Louis, Mo
Detroit, Mich.
San Francisco, Calif.
Kansas City, Mo.
Indianapolis, Ind
Louisville, Ky
Columbus, Ohio.
Atlanta, Ga
Akron, Ohio
Denver, Colo
Oakland, Calir.
Portland, Oreg
New Orleans, La
Los Angeles, Calif
Dallas, Tex.
Memphis, Tenn.
San Antonio, Tex.
Seattle, Wash
Chicago, Ill.
Minneapolis, Minn.
St. Paul, Minn..

$606, 711.000 2, 519, 229,000

755, 136.000 1,074, 744, 000

338, 582, 000 1,035, 137, 000

926, 563, 000
1,834, 017, 000

714, 533, 000
395, 556,000
375, 901,000
305, 506.000
280), 799,000
252, 000,000
198, 268, 000
251, 245.000
226, 239,000
228, 713, 000

355, 180,000
1,076, 572.000

208, 831, 000
202, 815, 000
161, 584, 000

189, 616,000
1, 409, 914,000

194, 780,000
109, 992.000

429, 760 1,931, 334

587. 472 859, 100 282, 349 878, 336

816, 018 1, 623, 452

634, 536 399, 178 38ti, 972 319, 077 30), 087 302, 288 244, 791 322. 412 302, 163 305, 394

494, 537
1, 504, 277

294, 734
292, 942
253, 854

368, 302
3, 396, 808

492, 370
287, 736

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Average assessment per capita..

1, 11;

Mr. Dent. If you get into the question of tax rates, the tax rates are very hard to compare. As you know, lots of cities have homestead exemptions, that is, there is no real-estate tax on properties having a valuation of $5,000 or under.

Mr. Bates. That applies pretty much to the States south of us; does it not?

Mr. DENT. Mostly the Southern States.

Mr. Bates. In fact, that is a recent development within the last 10 years in order to lighten the tax load on local residents and then expect Uncle Sam to pay the bill to carry them.

Mr. DENT. Insofar as valuation is concerned, I think it is significant that the District of Columbia has the higliest assessed valuation, and the highest valuation, based on this ratio that they gave, and the only real measure of comparison is just what tax does the individual pay for a similar place; forgetting valuations, forgetting tax rates, what does the man in another city pay for a house that is identical with that same house in the District of Columbia.

Well, now, of course, that is a very difficult thing to determine from other cities, but I have made that comparison with the adjoining counties, that is close to home, and I have sent out my assessors, and because of their familiarity with our problem in the District-two of them live out in the adjoining counties—we picked out houses that were, we thought, identical, as far as you can determine identity, and we found out exactly what tax they pay, forgetting valuation and forgetting tax rate.

We find that in Arlington County comparable properties, and we took the three categories of residences, apartment houses, and business properties—Arlington County was somewhat lower, considerably lower, I would say, than the District.

Montgomery County was slightly lower; Prince Georges County was slightly lower on taxes.

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We tried to get away from valuation; we tried to get away from tax rate and find out just what the real-estate tax was on a house, on the same kind of a house in the District of Columbia, and we found that our taxes were higher than the surrounding counties of Montgomery, Prince Georges, and Arlington.

Mr. Smith. Let me ask you right there, that was based upon the existing, the prior existing assessment in Arlington County. They just had a new assessment.

Mr. DENT. We used the new assessment.
Mr. Smith. The one that has not gone into effect yet?
Mr. DENT. That is the one we got from them.
Mr. SMITH. And it is still lower.

Mr. DENT. It is still a little lower. Over in Arlington County they have a 10 percent ratio, and they have a $3 rate; that means if they would go to full valuation and maintain the same proportion they would be on $1.20 rate.

Mr. BATES. That is right.

Mr. Dent. Montgomery County has a $2.62 rate; they are supposed to be a hundred percent valuation. Now compare the rate of $2.62 with the $1.75 in the District, and they are theoretically on a hundred percent valuation, the same as we are theoretically on a hundred percent valuation, yet the tax, the resulting tax, is higher in the District.

Now, that is the only way, Mr. Bates, that I know of that you can compare tax rates and valuation.

Mr. Bates. Mr. Dent, you and I both know there are many intangibles connected with the question of values that it is almost

Mr. DENT. It is just a man's judgment.

Mr. Bates. It is scientifically' impossible to arrive at a proper solution, but, in the final analysis, the assessment has to bear its relation to what that fair value is and the only way you can determine that is where you have a free seller and a free buyer, and that is the basis of your computation here, which is the best kind of a test that you could show this committee.

That being so, on residential property here, if this is typical of all the others, your residential property here is assessed for around 63 percent of its present value.

Mr. DENT. Present.

Mr. BATEs. Value to the revalue assessment; that is the new value you are going to put on.

Mr. DENT. That is at present day selling prices.

Mr. BATEs. That is right. So, that you have flexibility. I am not finding any fault with that, because it is exactly what I did over the period of a good many years when I had the same subject matter in hand, that you must allow that flexibility of assessment to take up the period when a depression or a deflated period comes in; but the facts are today that your assessment is about on a 63 percent basis on resi

Mr. DENT. That is true. I would like to say this: That if you take these old properties, Mr. Bates, and I will take this neighborhood right east of the Capitol, houses that are 50, 60, and 70 years old, those houses have been selling for more than they could be reproduced on the present market.

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