Despite real estate woes driven by the implosion of the subprime mortgage industry, Los Angeles County’s property tax roll has grown.

County assessor Rick Auerbach issued his annual report of the county’s assessment roll Tuesday, reporting a 6.9% increase to more than $1.1 trillion.

The tax roll grew even though the assessor’s office reduced tax assessments for 120,000 of the county’s 1.8 million single-family homes to reflect declines in value.

Auerbach said that the continued growth of the tax roll reflects the way the California’s Proposition 13 property-tax limit works. Under Proposition 13, the assessed value of a property cannot grow more than 2% per year unless there is a change of ownership. That means the assessed values of most properties that have not changed hands for several years remain below their market values.

Of the $71 billion reported increase in the tax roll, $45 billion is attributed to reassessments triggered by property sales and ownership changes, according to Auerbach’s report.

“In a market such as we now have, the cap keeps us from experiencing a dramatic decrease in assessed value,” he said in a news release. “Prop. 13 not only allows property owners to predict what their tax liability will be, it also prevents substantial swings in property tax revenue which may occur with other types of taxes, depending on the economy.”

Los Angeles County’s tax roll has declined only twice since Proposition 13 was passed in 1978, Auerbach said: in 1995 and 1996.

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