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Average tax bills up $174 statewide, home values drop a fifth straight year

The average tax bill for single-family homes in Massachusetts increased by $174 this past fiscal year, following a trend of property tax increases of less than 4 percent in recent years, according to the state Department of Revenue.

The average value of a single-family home in Massachusetts was $358,687 in fiscal year 2012, which ended in June, down from $406,673 five years ago, the agency reported in its City & Town publication this month.

The property tax increases are largely a result of Proposition 2-1/2, which allows for a 2.5 percent annual property tax levy increase as well as new property growth, according to the state agency.

The 5-year, or 12-percent decline in average home values is attributed to the banking industry crisis and Great Recession. However, the last drop in values was the smallest since the slide began, which state revenue officials says indicates home values have started to stabilize.

Although property values have dropped each of the past five years, single-family home values have increased 52 percent during the past decade — from $236,229 in 2002 to $358,687 this past year.

During the same 10-year span, the average single-family tax bill increased from $3,015 to $4,711, according to the DOR’s Division of Local Services.

— Dan Crowley

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