|Annandale has the highest average increase in assessments.|
Assessments for properties in Annandale (zip code 22003) rose an average of 5.45 percent – which is more than any other zip code area in the county. The median assessment for residential properties in Annandale is $435,438 for 2015 – up from $412,942 last year.
Zip code areas in Fairfax County where assessments for residential properties rose more than 4 percent include Springfield (4.33), Falls Church (4.16 percent), and McLean (4.05). Areas with the smallest increase include Great Falls (1.02 percent), Clifton (1.72), and Fairfax Station (1.80).
The Fairfax County Department of Tax Administration (DTA) began mailing tax year 2015 real estate assessment notices to taxpayers Feb. 17. The average household could expect an increased tax bill of $185.
Countywide, approximately 74 percent of residential properties experienced an assessment increase due to equalization, 21 percent had no change, and 5 percent experienced some level of assessment decrease.
Changes in assessments could occur for several reasons, including appreciation, value declines, sales in the neighborhood, structural changes to a property, economic factors, rezoning, or land divisions.
Nonresidential real estate values (including commercial properties) decreased an average of .60 percent.
The DTA attributes that decline to a 4.67 decrease in assessments for office elevator properties and a decrease of 5.00 percent for other office properties due to lower rents and higher vacancy rates. Those declines were partially offset by value increases in multifamily apartments of 1.20 percent.
The percentages of assessment changes “represent the cumulative amount to the overall tax base and are not necessarily indicative of specific change to any particular, individual properties,” the DTA states. “Individual assessment changes may vary considerably. For residential property, for example, a key factor in determining the need to change is the relationship of assessments to the selling prices within neighborhoods.”
Real estate in Annandale aren’t considered as one group, as there’s extensive variation in the housing stock in the area – so some homeowners might see a larger increase than others.
DTA staff divide the county into 1,300 different neighborhood clusters, each one having housing as similar as possible with respect to size, age, and quality, said Larry Mackereth, assistant director of the real estate division. Home sales in those clusters from previous years are compared to the 2014 assessment level. If the ratio between sales and assessments are 80 percent or more, “that indicates we need to raise assessments,” he said.
Homeowners faced with an assessment increase of more than 15 percent – not due to construction – receive a letter from the DTA explaining how the assessment was done.
Based on equalization changes, the mean assessed value (on average, countywide) of single-family detached homes for 2015 is $620,080, up 3.27 percent. Countywide, the average assessment for townhouse/duplex properties, based on equalization changes, is $385,338, an increase from 2014 of approximately 3.81 percent. The mean assessed value for condominiums is up 4.48 percent to $259,752.
The 2015 assessments are based on 2014 tax rates; the Board of Supervisors has not yet adopted tax rates for 2015; it will do so when it approves a county budget for 2016. The 2016 budget proposal presented to the BoS Feb. 17 by County Executive Ed Long would retain the current real estate tax rate of $1.09 per $100 of assessed value.
Property owners can appeal their assessments to the Department of Tax Administration by April 3 or to the Board of Equalization by June 1.