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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

2015 real estate assessment up 5.5 percent in Annandale

Annandale has the highest average increase in assessments.
Fairfax County real estate assessments for 2015 rose an average of 3.39 percent for residential properties, the Department of Tax Administration announced Feb. 17.

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.


  1. Off course you can always buy this home for $1.2 Mil which has a 2015 assessment of only $500k. Who does these assessments?

    1. That's a preliminary assessment because it's new construction. The purchaser can look forward to receiving a higher reassessment after the property is sold.

    2. That will be a real shocker for the buyer and lame on the agent part. They are boasting about the low taxes on the webpage. Thanks for the info, I'll be happy with my 400k assessment down the street.
      Me personally, if I had $1.25M Mason would not be my first choice to live. This house with so many bedrooms and each with a bath is almost set up to be a per room rental.

    3. Sure, with 1.25M you can buy a very nice condo or smaller single family/townhome in close in Arlington. Or a delightful mansion with a large yard and perhaps a winery or stables out in Loudon County; fine as long as you can deal with the commute to the job, if necessary.

      I would imagine that for most individuals at whatever price point Mason is not their "first choice to live" and yet people still move here.

    4. Yes to each their own. But several of these tear downs McMansions seem out of place sitting next to 50-60 year old homes. I have no doubt someone will buy it. I just hope that it is one family or an extended family. I just hope it does not turn into a rental. Times change and so do neighborhoods. This is not the first nor will it be the last.

    5. That home is totally out of character with its surroundings. It's a palazzo on too small of a lot built in a neighborhood of ramblers. Great for the property tax base, but I wouldn't want to own one of the houses next to it.

    6. All I know is that somehow my 35 year old townhouse in a neighborhood with no pool and no parking went up 11.48% this year after going up 3.7% last year and 2.44% the year before. My tax bill is estimated to go up over $400 this year after going up $150 last year. I recall them raising the rates a couple of years ago to cover shortfalls due to the sudden price drops, so when are they going to roll back those rates?

  2. That house is 1.25 M tons of s--t. I wouldn't pay $300k for that mini mansion deigned and built by some unsophisticated builder. Return that to sender.

  3. The photo wasn't meant to make a comment on assessments. It's just a photo from my files showing the range of housing types in Annandale.

  4. While no one likes paying more for their assessment, I struggle to see how this isn't good news in general. Amidst all the people on this blog whining about declining property values and the crash and burn of Mason/Annandale, rising tax assessments that are somewhat based on ASR is probably a good economic indicator. Or maybe I'm wrong, I don't know.

    1. aaaaand my assessment just went up 13.45%.

  5. As the once great Betty Davis said: "what a dump!"