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New F.C. Real Estate Assessments Reveal Highest Growth in Region

AT MONDAY'S  meeting , members of the Falls Church City Council posed with Boy Scout Troop 1537 prior to getting an update on new real estate assessments. (Photo: News-Press)
AT MONDAY’S meeting , members of the Falls Church City Council posed with Boy Scout Troop 1537 prior to getting an update on new real estate assessments. (Photo: News-Press)

The real estate assessments that were mailed to property owners in the City of Falls Church and posted on the City’s website this Tuesday showed an overall 4.85 percent increase over a year ago, due mostly to new mixed-use construction projects now underway. The increase is the highest in the region, F.C. City Manager Wyatt Shields reported to the F.C. City Council Monday night.

The increase is “dramatic and outpaces our peers in Northern Virginia,” Shields said. The data will be folded into the revenue portion of the Fiscal Year 2016 budget that Shields is due to recommend to the Council on March 9.

Taken as a whole, City single family homes increased in assessed value by an average of 3.4 percent, Shields said, while town houses grew in value by 5.75 percent and condos by 5.73 percent. Overall commercial properties rose by 2.37 percent, also the highest growth in the region, and overall growth in projected revenues for the coming fiscal year is be 3.7 percent.

According to a summary City statement, the total taxable assessed value for all properties in the city, as of January 1, 2015, is $3,721,286,900 ($3.7 billion), a 4.85 percent increase from January 1, 2014. New construction (valued at $87.8 million) accounts for just over half of the increase in assessed value in the City, and market appreciation accounts for the other half.

Commercial new construction accounted for $65 million of growth; residential new construction accounted for $22.8 million of growth.

Overall commercial and multi-family property values increased 2.37 percent since January 2014; overall residential real estate values increased 4.11 percent over the last year.

Single family home values had varying changes but overall increased by 3.42 percent; townhomes increased overall by 5.75 percent; and residential condominiums had varying changes but overall increased 5.73 percent.

As set forth in the Virginia Constitution, real estate is assessed at 100 percent of fair market value, according to the City’s Public Information Office, although that point is often disputed by citizens.

The City says that its Office of Real Estate Assessment calculates property value annually using mass appraisal techniques that are standard in the real estate assessment industry.

The notice of assessment is an appraisal of the fair market value of the property; it is not a tax bill. Property tax payments will be due in two installments on June 5 and Dec. 5; property owners will receive bills prior to these dates.

Based on the City Council’s decisions in response to the recommended budget of Shields, which will include the City operating budget, its Capital Improvements Projects budget, and the budget request from the School Board (which will be determined next Tuesday), the City’s real estate tax rate will be determined by a Council vote at the end of this April. It is currently $1.305 per $100 of assessed valuation.

Public hearings on the budget will be held on March 23, April 13, and April 27 at 7:30 p.m. in Council Chambers (300 Park Ave.). Town Hall meetings will be held on March 14 and April 4 at 10 a.m. in the Community Center. The complete Council budget schedule is available on the City’s website.

For citizens who do not agree with the City’s assessment of their property, an appeals process exists, with deadlines for assessment appeals being Friday, April 3, for an Office of Real Estate Assessment review and Friday, June 5 for a Board of Equalization review.

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