Wednesday, 1 February 2012

City real-estate values fall

Total real-estate values in the city of Charlottesville decreased by 1.22 percent last year, according to assessment figures released Tuesday by the city.

Of the city’s 13,031 taxable residential parcels, approximately 39 percent will show a decline in value, while 59 percent will show no change, according to a city news release. These figures do not include new construction and property improvements.

Reassessment notices were mailed Tuesday to all city property owners, according to officials.

This year marks only the second time since the city began keeping records that values declined overall. The first occurred in the 2010 assessments, when existing residential properties fell 2.19 percent, and total values fell 0.76 percent.

For 2012, assessments for existing residential properties declined by 3.08 percent, while assessments for existing commercial properties increased by 0.84 percent.

The average decline in value is about $10,000, according to City Assessor Roosevelt Barbour Jr., but specific numbers depend on the neighborhood.

“We’ve got a lot of sales that are under assessment, but we don’t have a lot of people losing their homes,” Barbour said. “That’s good.”

Foreclosures jumped from 43 in 2010 to 53 in 2011, an increase of nearly 25 percent, Barbour said, adding that Charlottesville is still seeing fewer foreclosures than other localities.

Barbour, whose office reviews previous assessments and sales information to determine property values each year for tax purposes, has said the decline can be chalked up to the “continuing slow economy.”

The assessor divides the city’s residential properties into 47 different sections, and Barbour said only one section — a part of Belmont just west of Avon Street — saw an assessment increase.

This year’s decline follows an increase of 0.63 percent last year, largely due to new construction.

Downward real estate trends are also straining the city budget. Officials are working to find a way to close an estimated $1 million to 2 million deficit, caused partly by declining real estate revenue.

City budget officials are projecting real estate revenues of about $49.9 million for fiscal year 2013, a drop of about 1.1 percent, or about $550,000, from the current budget. Officials projected real estate revenue of about $50.4 million in the current year, but that number was also revised downward by 1.4 percent.

Other revenue streams — particularly meals and lodging taxes — are performing better than expected, which helps to balance out the stagnant or falling real estate revenue, officials said.

“… We see no overall negative impact due to the decline in assessments on the fiscal year 2012 budget,” city spokesman Ric Barrick said in an email.

Property owners who have not received an assessment notice by Monday or those with questions can contact the assessor’s office at 970-3136.

Assessment numbers are accessible on the city’s website at

Property owners who wish to discuss an assessment must do so by March 1 to be eligible for a review.

Albemarle County plans to finalize its assessments today.


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