Declining Property Tax Assessments: Cville here. Albemarle here.
Here are just some of the reasons why property tax assessment figures mean more to sellers than to buyers:Remember that mantra, "Charlottesville is a protected market"? Nobody uses it any more, at least, not with a straight face. After sliding since 2006, 2010 was the area's worst year of the housing downturn thus far. See the ouch. And more ouch.
*"Fair Market Value": While Tax Assessments are supposed to indicate what a property would sell for at an arm's length transaction--the numbers don't take into account other factors, including how few sales there actually are.
*Albemarle County flags foreclosures as "invalid sales" in Tax Records--the lower sales prices don't get calculated into "fair market value." As Fannie Mae Homepath and Bank of America foreclosures are the fastest sellers in Albemarle County, excluding these serves the purposes of the County's money needs--not the homeowners tax bill.
*Tax Assessments are not appraisals: the assessors don't visit every property--they only go inside when the figure is challenged.
*Of course, assessments don't indicate how few qualified buyers there are. 66% of all 2010 area sales were $300k or less. This indicates cash-strapped buyers.
*Assessments are divorced from the high inventory (getting higher on a daily basis). Inventory pushes prices down.
*Property Tax Assessments mean the most to homeowners who are trying to sell because they hope it indicates extrinsic value.
*When you think about it, if a real estate agent (and/or Realtor (TM)) is using a property tax assessment as a selling point, they've got nothing else. Can they actually represent the best interests of a buyer or a seller?
Albemarle County Property Tax Assessment Declines by Magesterial District