BERRYVILLE — Results of Clarke County’s latest real estate reassessment show an average increase in taxable property values countywide of 14%.
An average increase of the same percentage was seen in residential property values, the Clarke County Board of Supervisors learned during its monthly work session Thursday morning.
Those results were based on determinations by Wampler-Eanes Appraisal Group Ltd., a Daleville firm that the county hired to do the 2020 general reassessment.
Reassessed values are to become effective on Jan. 1.
The previous reassessment was done four years ago. However, the latest reassessed values were based solely on real estate sales in 2019, said Michael Didawick, an appraiser with Wampler-Eanes.
State code requires localities to assess all properties within their boundaries at 100% of fair market value, resulting in the need for reassessments every few years. Basically, fair market value is the price that someone would be willing to pay for a property, assuming he or she is knowledgeable about its condition and amenities.
During the past year, Wampler-Eanes reassessed approximately 9,200 properties countywide. The taxable values of some increased, while others dropped.
However, five of the six magisterial districts saw increases in average values for residential properties and real estate overall.
The largest average increases — 23% percent for residential and the same percentage overall — were seen in the Boyce magisterial district, Didawick told the supervisors.
Keep in mind, though, that it was “the smallest sample size,” he said. The town of Boyce, which has only about 600 residents, covers less that four-tenths of a square mile.
Other average increases, Didawick said, were:
• Berryville magisterial district: 19% overall, 20% for residential.
• Chapel magisterial district: 14% overall, 15% for residential.
• Greenway magisterial district: 13% overall, 16% for residential.
• Longmarsh magisterial district: 13% overall, 15% for residential.
In the Battletown magisterial district, the average value of real estate overall dropped by 7%. Residential properties showed no average percentage change, Didawick said. He attributed those figures mainly to the large number of vacant properties in the Shenandoah Retreat neighborhood in Bluemont.
Russell District Supervisor Barbara Byrd surmised that the reassessment, based on housing market sales, shows Clarke County is “a desirable place to live.” Didawick agreed.
“You’re not surprised by the increases?” Buckmarsh District Supervisor and board Chairman David Weiss asked him.
“Not at all,” he replied.
To help them reassess values, Wampler-Eanes appraisers personally “visited every property we could get to,” Didawick said.
Some they could not go onto, he said, because of factors such as locked gates or mean dogs. In such instances, appraisers simply relied on “property cards” in records at the county revenue commissioner’s office, he added. Those cards detail factors about individual properties.
Notices of reassessed values were mailed to property owners. Anyone wanting to discuss their reassessments with a Wampler-Eanes appraiser can call 800-393-5128 before Nov. 26 to schedule an appointment at the Berryville-Clarke County Government Center between Nov. 18 and Dec. 3.
Formal, written appeals of reassessments can be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by regular mail to the Clarke County Reassessment Office, P.O. Box 67, Berryville VA 22611. A “board of equalization” will be appointed by Clarke County Circuit Court to consider the appeals, according to Weiss.
County Administrator David Ash said people who disagree with their reassessed property values must provide proof that appraisers have erred.
“You just can’t come in and expect a reduction,” Ash said. “You’ve got to have factual reasoning.”
In budgeting processes, the supervisors will use the reassessed property values in establishing the county’s real estate tax rate for the new fiscal year that will start July 1, based on state requirements.