The 2009 Property Tax Assessments were mailed today. The notice on the City's website trumpets "New Assessments Show a Continued Healthy Market."
If by "healthy" the City is referring to the fact that this is a terrific place to live, well, sure. But as there is currently a couple of years worth of inventory for sale in this market and more being put up daily--well, "healthy" isn't the first word that comes to mind. "Asking" and "sold" prices have farther to fall...and for some sellers, this is the opposite of "healthy."
The Daily Progress has another view of the situation, entitling an article "City's Assessment Growth Stagnates."
"Real-estate assessment growth is slowing to a near halt in Charlottesville, with the average existing home and commercial property values increasing only 1.69 percent last year after seeing double-digit growth just a few years ago."
The DP reports on the County's tax assessments as well: "Albemarle Assessed Property Values Drop":
"Overall assessed property values in Albemarle County have declined for the first time in at least a quarter of a century."
"Excluding new construction, 2009 property values declined 2.59 percent from 2008 values, according to assessments being mailed to property owners today."
Albemarle reassesses property every two years:
2003 was up 18.74% from 2001
2005 was up 27.21% from 2003
2007 was up 29.08% from 2005
Who coulda known the rise wouldn't continue?!
BTW? Tax assessments mean little to buyers, except for what they're going to owe if they purchase. Tax assessments mean much more to sellers, and to sellers' real estate agents. Ditto "sold comps."
Because this market has buyers coming from other places, buyers are very interested in the 25% decline in values that has already happened nationwide, where home prices are at 2004 levels. And buyers are interested in the fact that in major metropolitan areas, home prices are in freefall. The Charlottesville MSA isn't a major met area; it just has the prices of one.
Buyers are also interested in these numbers:
- The national median price is $175,400
- The median price in the south is +/- $155,000
- In the City $290K
- In the County $390K
UPDATE 1/30/09 evening:
The WSJ reports "Calls Grow to Cap Property Taxes," which includes issues many local homedebtors will find familiar:
"The values that cities and towns use to calculate tax bills are often based on house sales a year or more before the bills are issued. That means that many recent bills don't take into account the meltdown of 2008....In addition, cities...are facing a barrage of recession-related financial pressures, including cuts in state aid and investment losses. That is tempting many to look for added revenue from property taxes, one of the few revenue sources they control."
Locally, NBC29 reports on the story, and has a comment by Realtor Keith Davis, who says (echoing what we mentioned, above) "These are not appraisals, this is not a statement by the city of how much your house should sell for and your price indeed has gone up."
And don't miss the post and comments over at Cvillenews.
DP: City's Assessment Growth Stagnates
DP: Albemarle's Assessed Property Values Drop
City of Charlottesville Press Release
County of Albemarle Press Release
Albemarle's "State of the County" Bulletin