F.C.’s Assessor #s Rocket Up 11.42%

The total taxable assessed value for all properties in the City of Falls Church, as of January 1, 2022, is $5,093,848,600, the highest in City history and an overall increase of 11.42 percent from January 1, 2021, according to a report issued from City Hall yesterday.

The double-digit jump is “primarily resulting from extraordinary increases in sales prices of residential real estate in the city last year,” the City report noted.

Assessment notices will be mailed to property owners by March 25. Updated assessment information will be posted on the City website by this coming Monday, March 21.

City Manager Wyatt Shields has the responsibility to initially fold these numbers into his recommended budget for the coming fiscal year that begins July 1 that the City Council will then modify and adopt finally by May 2.

City Council members who were contacted by the News-Press were swift to respond to the news yesterday. Those who did said that, on the one hand, the huge jump is a testament to the good job the City has been doing in promoting economic development and making the City as desirable place to live and do business, while, on the other hand, bold mitigating measures will be needed to relieve City taxpayers and especially those with more limited abilities to pay.

Overall residential real estate values increased 13.72 percent over the last year. Single family home and townhomes had varying changes but overall were up 14.43 percent and 11.60 percent respectively; and residential condominiums had varying changes but overall increase of 12.31 percent.

Overall commercial property values increased 5.73 percent since January 2021 and multi-family property values increased 12.39 percent over the last year.

New construction (valued at $34.62 million) has accounted for 6.6 percent of the increase in assessed value. Residential new construction accounted for $18.1 million of growth; commercial new construction accounts for the remaining $16.5 million of growth.

Yesterday’s City statement noted that “in anticipation of projected tax bill growth, the City Council had directed the City Manager as part of budget guidance in December 2021 to provide options for real estate tax rate reduction to mitigate the financial burden on homeowners.”

It was also noted that “as set forth in the Virginia Constitution, real estate is assessed at 100 percent of fair market value. The City’s Office of Real Estate Assessment calculates property value annually using mass appraisal techniques that are standard in the real estate assessment industry.”

This year the assessments have been produced by new software at the City Assessor’s Office, Shields told the City Council this week, that resulted in a delay in the delivery the annual assessments from the customary early February time frame.

Also, the City is working with a new assessor’s office director in Erwving Bailey.

The notice of assessment that will be sent to all City property owners is an appraisal of the fair market value of the property, not a tax bill, the City has stated. Property tax payments will be due in two installments on Dec. 6, 2022 and June 5, 2023; property owners will receive bills prior to these dates.
The real estate tax rate will be determined when the Falls Church City Council adopts the Fiscal Year 2023 Operating Budget and Capital Improvements Program and sets the tax rate. Public hearings on the budget will be held on April 11, April 25, and May 2 at 7:30 p.m.

Individual assessments will be mailed in late March. After evaluating the assessment, homeowners wondering if their assessment is correct should ask the question, “Would my home sell for the assessed value if I put it on the market?” If the answer is “yes,” the assessment is probably accurate. If the answer is “no,” contact the Office of Real Estate Assessment at 703-248-5022 (TTY 711).

Deadlines for assessment appeals are Friday, April 29, 2022, for an Office of Real Estate Assessment review and Friday, June 3, 2022 for a Board of Equalization review.