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The assessed value of my Thousand Oaks, CA home is $144K. I doubt that I can by any home in California that would have an assessed value this low.

Sure you can.

2071 Surfside Dr, Eureka, CA 95503 sold for $35k recently.

19 Sunshine Way, Eureka, CA 95503 sold more recently for $75k

There are many many others in CA in the <$150k price range.
But maybe none in Thousand Oaks.

For many many people this transfer of assessed valuation helps them keep their property taxes from skyrocketing if they downsize as empty-nesters.
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