Tax break lets boomers sell home 'and make that move to the desert'

A one-time tax break that lets senior citizens in nine participating California counties keep the below-market assessment on their current home when they build or buy another home that will be their principal residence could send seniors in Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego packing up for retirement in Palm Springs.

At least that’s what real estate agents in Riverside County, which reinstated Proposition 90 in September, are hoping.

“They can sell property and make that move to the desert,” Rick Jenkins, vice president of the Orange County and desert regions for Coldwell Banker, tells The Desert Sun.

Since 1978, California’s Proposition 13 has limited annual increases in assessed value to 2 percent, until a property is sold and it can be reassessed at market value. As a result, seniors and others who have owned their homes for many years often pay much less in property taxes than owners of comparable homes purchased more recently.

Prop. 90 is intended to help seniors in nine participating counties — Alameda, El Dorado, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Ventura — downsize or more to a home of equal value without being hit with a big increase in their property taxes. Source: