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Ask Eli: Market values 14% higher than county assessments

This regularly scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Arlington resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Video summaries of some articles can be found on YouTube on the Ask Eli, Live With Jean playlist. Enjoy!

Question: How close are the County’s tax assessments to actual market values?

Answer: Last week, Arlington announced that the next round of annual tax reassessments would increase the total residential assessment by 5.8% (this is overall, changes to individual home/land values will vary significantly). This change is meant to align with the increase in market values of Arlington homes, but assessed values remain well below actual market values for most homes. In fact, 88.6% of homes sold in 2021 sold for above their most recent tax assessment value.

Homes in Arlington that sold in 2021 sold for an average of 14% (median 12.3%) above their most recent tax assessment. Last year, that difference came to an average of 18.2% and in 2019 it was 14.2%.

Homeowners in the 22205 zip code benefit the most by underassessment’s with an average difference between 2021 sold prices and their assessments of 20.9%, or nearly $181,000. Owners of single-family homes and townhouses (17.6% average difference) benefit more from underassessment’s than condo owners (9.5% average difference).

If County assessments were representative of actual market values, the average Arlington homeowner would pay over $1,000 more per year in property taxes. So don’t forget to send the Department of Real Estate Assessments a thank you card!

If you believe that the County’s assessment of your home’s value is too high, you have the right to appeal the assessed value, but that must be done by March 1.

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column or to discuss buying, selling, renting, or investing, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at EliResidential.com. Call me directly at 703-539-2529.

Video summaries of some articles can be found on YouTube on the Ask Eli, Live With Jean playlist.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with RLAH Real Estate, 4040 N Fairfax Dr #10C Arlington VA 22203. 703-390-9460.

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