The City of Falls Church released overall real estate assessment figures today, showing a whopping 6.4 percent decline, led by a 14 percent decline in the value of commercial properties. The biggest single component of the commercial real estate drop has been large office buildings, down 21 percent in value over the course of the past year. The numbers will make it extremely daunting for the Falls Church City Council to balance the upcoming fiscal year budget, coming in higher than estimates of a 6 percent drop indicated before today.
According to a City Hall press release, the overall drop for residential real estate was 3 percent, with single family homes and town homes declining 2 percent and condominiums down 10 percent. Of single family homes, 54 percent remained the same or gained in value due to improvements in the property, and 20 percent of town homes remained unchanged.
Among commercial properties, multi-family apartments declined 12 percent, large retail properties (stores and restaurants) were down 15 percent, hotels declined 11 percent and general commercial properties (smaller retail, office and general space) down 10 percent, in addition to the 21 percent drop for large office buildings.
“As set forth in the Virginia Constitution,” the City Hall statement said, “Real estate is assessed at 100 percent of fair market value.” The F.C. Assessors Office “calculates property value using mass appraisal techniques that are standard in the real estate assessment industry.”
Falls Church property owners should receive the notices of their individual assessments on or after Feb. 10, and the information will be available on the City’s web site on Feb. 8. Based on these assessments, the City Council of F.C. will set a tax rate to balance its annual budget by April 26. Property owner appeals of individual assessments can be made to the Assessor’s Office by March 19, and by July 2 for a Board of Equalization review. Tax relief programs for the elderly and disabled are also available to eligible applicants, with an April 15 deadline for application.