Long Sands Beach is seen in York, where the town's property value of $4.5 billion ranks second in the state, according to the town's assessor. Credit: Richard Beauchesne | The York Weekly

YORK, Maine — The town remains the second-most property-rich municipality in the state, according to assessor Rick Mace. That’s still behind Portland but ahead of No. 3 on the list, South Portland.

Mace provided that context while recently presenting his annual assessing report, which covers the period from April 2018 to April 2019. The overall assessed value of property in town is $4.5 billion.

Property taxpayers are paying $11.15 per $1,000 of assessed property value, unchanged from the previous year. These funds are then expended to pay for the capital, town and school fiscal year 2020 budgets.

The tax rate remains the same in part because the percentage increase of new taxable value is less in fiscal year 2020 (3.24 percent) than it was in fiscal year 2019 (4.1 percent). New building construction amounted to $53.9 million, down from $87.7 million in fiscal year 2019. The reason can also be found in annual spending. In fiscal year 2019, valuation went up 4.1 percent but the budget increased 5.9 percent. In fiscal year 2020, valuation went up 3.2 percent and the budget increased a more modest 3.97 percent.

Mace said even though “the real estate market won’t say it’s off, home sales are down” year to year — from 423 to 399. Still, he said, this hasn’t affected the market value of buildings. Of 80 neighborhoods in York, 34 percent had increases in value and none saw a decrease. The condo market is also strong, he said. Of 160 condo complexes in town, 100 saw an increase and only three had a decrease in value.

Other facts in his report:

— The average selling price of a home not on the water was $492,279. For those on the water, the average selling price was $1.5 million.

“Almost half a million for a house that’s not on the water. That’s pretty remarkable,” Mace said. “Waterfront houses are getting up there in thin air. As I looked at prices this past spring, prices were through the roof.”

— Of the total number of properties in York, 7,358 increased in valuation; 2,841 remained the same; and 1,018 went down in value.

When Mace presented his report to the Board of Selectmen at a recent meeting, Selectman Robert Palmer said he was approached by one older resident whose tax bill went up 13 percent, or $500. “She said, ‘I don’t have $500.’ Condos in particular went up,” he said.

Mace said he can’t increase a neighborhood or a class of property “based on two or three sales. I have to have half a dozen sales before I can make an adjustment. We double check and fine tune. We don’t want to increase a lot value if the building value is low or vice versa.”