“I was elected in 2010 and I reorganized to be more efficient, reopening two offices that had been closed putting all our forms online so there are no lines in our offices,” Ernie Dronenburg told the Bird Rock Community Council (BRCC) on Feb. 5 at the advisory group’s monthly meeting at Voce del Mare Restaurant.
Dronenburg discussed the status of real estate values and what to look forward to.
Head of the San Diego County Tax Assessor’s Office, Dronenburg oversees a department with five offices and scores of employees in charge of valuation assessments for 987,000 real-estate parcels countywide recording 939,000 legal documents totaling more than 3.5 million pages.
Dronenburg said homeowners can fill out forms online to appeal their properties’ value having it reappraised these days.
“There’s no obligation, no cost, you just fill the form in and use three comparables (similar properties),” he said. “It used to take two years for people to find out whether or not their (valuation) appeal was granted,” a time interval which has since been halved, he said.
“This year our appeals are down almost 30 percent from last year,” he said. “We get people answers and we get them quickly.”
The real-estate market has reached a valuation turnaround, Dronenburg said, but he offered this caveat: “It’s going to go up real, real slowly,” adding “the drag on the market is the lack of supply — not a lack of demand.”
Dronenberg said there’s a preponderance of “phantom inventory” — homes in financial limbo in between when they go into default and are foreclosed on and repossessed by banks — continuing to be a drag on the market.
Another problem, he noted, is people whose homes are “under water” (valued at less than what’s owed on them).
“Historically when you come out of a recession, there’s a big raise in housing prices through inflation,” he said, adding that scenario is yet to happen since the 2008 real estate downturn.
“The bottom line is those elements have caused a drop in the inventory, that’s why you’re hearing about the market going up, but real slowly.”
Dronenberg predicted property values will rise a total of 1 to 2 percent next year.
In other action:
• Michelle Fulks of Neighborhood Watch warned residents that solicitors have returned to the neighborhood, cautioning neighbors against opening their doors to strangers, no matter the time of day.
• BRCC board member Barbara Dunbar gave a report on the community’s Maintenance Assessment District, noting there are ongoing problems with plantings and sprinkler heads damaged in landscaped medians due to vehicular incursions. She said landscaping may be patchy in some spots while plants are being replaced, adding it’s more difficult in wintertime to get many plant species to grow. She encouraged residents to report landscape-related problems to email@example.com.
• Dunbar noted four of nine median lights installed during a Jan. 13 dedication ceremony honoring the late George Sutton have developed electrical problems and are out.
“We are in the process of dealing with it,” she said.
• Teacher Lorene LaCava gave an update on Bird Rock Elementary School, noting a recent electronic-waste recycling event netted $3,500, which will be used for capital improvements at the school.