A six-year run of double-digit percentage increases in Fairfax County home assessments came to an abrupt end yesterday, as notices mailed to taxpayers showed that their properties have lost value for the first time since 1998.
Fairfax's falling assessments are consistent with declines reported by other Northern Virginia localities in recent weeks. In Loudoun County, the average assessed value of a single-family home dropped 7.1 percent. Preliminary estimates show a 4 percent drop in Prince William County. Arlington County housing values are down eight - tenths of a percent, and Alexandria's average fell about 3 percent.
Under Virginia law, property assessment are valued to be at "100 percent of fair market value. The Virginia Supreme Court has provided the following definition of fair market value: The fair market value of a property is the price which it will bring when it is offered for sale by one who desires, but is not obliged, to sell it, and is bought by one who is under no necessity of having it."
The declining assesments are more evidence that this housing market is undergoing significant decline. Expect further declines in property assessments next year.