Property assessments decline for second straight year

The assessed value of all real estate in Chesterfield County declined 3.3 percent during calendar year 2010, according to information from the Chesterfield County Department of Real Estate Assessments.

Damped by softness in area labor markets, sluggish home sales and the ever present specter of foreclosure activity, the value of all real property in the county fell for the second consecutive year, a county press release says.  

The total value of all existing residential property in the county fell 5 percent during 2010, on the heels of a 1.5 percent drop in 2008 and 4.9 percent decline in 2009 (the total value of all properties in the county did not decline in 2008, just the residential component), the release says. Accordingly, the average assessed value of a single-family home in Chesterfield has decreased 9.5 percent since the market peak in 2007, resulting in a cumulative reduction in the average residential tax bill of $226 during that span, it says.

Countywide, that reduction in residential value translates into approximately $22.1 million of real estate tax relief for county residents, the release says. Moreover, the recent assessment and tax reductions have been widespread – 96 percent of residential properties declined during 2010, while 93 percent of homeowners had their assessments reduced in 2009, it says.

But, the other portions of the county’s real estate portfolio fared a bit better in 2010. The overall change in total real property value is the net result of the overall change in the value of existing residential properties, the overall change in the value of existing commercial properties, and the increase in value from new construction added throughout the year, the release says. In 2010, the total value of existing commercial properties slipped 1 percent (versus -7.5 percent in 2009), while new construction added $284.9 million of value (roughly a 0.9 percent increase), which combined with the 5 percent drop in residential value yields the 3.3 decline in total value, it says.

The revenue neutral tax rate – using the methodology specified in the Code of Virginia – represents what the county’s tax rate would have to be in order to produce the same amount of real estate revenue as the year before after adjusting for fluctuations in existing property values, it says. Chesterfield’s revenue neutral rate for tax year 2011 was determined to be $1.00, $0.05 above the county’s current level of $0.95.


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