Famous Bostonian Has Highest Assessment In The City

David Bates / March 21, 2011-1:06 pm

Everybody has an opinion of value, but not every opinion of value counts. Two opinions that do count are the city assessor’s office — whose opinion of value determines how much an owner will pay in property taxes — and a buyer’s opinion of value, which ultimately determines the fair market value of a home. While some buyers like to look at assessed value as a key to understanding market value, often the two have little to do with each other. In fact, it is a worthy goal for many motivated homeowners to try to obtain the lowest possible assessed value from the city (saving tax dollars) while simultaneously receiving the highest possible market value from a buyer (making profit).
Ronald Rakow, the Commissioner of Assessing for the City of Boston, writes that his department is committed to “an assessment system that taxpayers can look to as an example of efficiency, creativity and performance.” According to MLS records, just one Boston street accounts for 13 of the top 25 most valuable single-family assessments in the city. That street is Louisburg Square in Beacon Hill. Louisburg Square has been home to William Dean Howell, the editor of The Atlantic, and Louisa May Alcott, the author of the classic novel Little Women.
According to research completed by this blog, the Boston single family home assessed with the highest value is home to two other nationally-known Bostonians: Heinz heiress Theresa Heinz Kerry and Senator John Kerry. The city assesses their home at 19 Louisburg Square — a 5-bedroom, 9,128-square-foot home on a 2,198-square-foot lot — at $8.4 million, making its annual property tax bill about $100,000. The MLS public record section indicates that The Mandarin Oriental Condominiums, located at 776 Boylston, are home to six of the top seven condominiums with the highest assessed values in the city. According to this database, 776 Boylston E12C,  at $12.5 million, is the highest-assessed value for a condominium in Boston. The tax bill for this condominium is sent to the same address as other addresses for Fineberg Management, a firm owning and managing many buildings in the Boston area.