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South Portland Homeowners Warned To Brace For Higher Property Tax Bills After Real Estate Boom

New Homes
Pat Wellenbach
AP file
In this July 26, 2011 photo, a sale pending sign is set outside a house in Bath, Maine.

The city of South Portland is warning homeowners that their property taxes could jump as much as 30% this year after a revaluation.

The city's assessor, Jim Thomas, says the increase is the result of homes selling above list price.

"In the last five years, what's taken place in the residential real estate market is unprecedented. Property values across southern Maine have increased, just incredibly. Like 6% or 7% or 8% per year, each year," he says.

Commercial property values have not accelerated at the same pace, Thomas says, and that has resulted in a shift in the burden of property tax to residential property owners. He says there are some programs available to mitigate the cost of tax increases, such as the Homestead Exemption. The South Portland City Council is holding a budget meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.