Arlington’s overall property tax base grew modestly from 2020, despite a slowdown in some parts of the County’s commercial property portfolio due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Measured growth in residential property values buoyed the tax base, but the County faces a difficult budget year as it works to close the FY 2022 budget shortfall while helping residents and businesses impacted by the pandemic.
Overall, the total assessed value of all residential and commercial property in Arlington increased only 2.2 percent, compared to the 4.6-percent growth in 2020. Residential property values increased 5.6 percent overall, while commercial property values decreased by 1.4 percent.
“The increase in residential property values for this year shows the continued attractiveness of our Arlington community, even as our businesses and residents face the burdens and challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said County Manager Mark Schwartz.
Real estate taxes provide 59 percent of total County revenues. The County’s real estate tax base is spilt roughly equally between residential (53%) and commercial (47%) property assessments.
The decline in commercial property assessments was mainly driven by a double-digit decrease in the hotel sector, where operations have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Existing apartment and general commercial property (malls, retail stores, gas stations, commercial condos) values decreased slightly but were offset by new construction. Existing office property values remained fairly flat with the growth in this sector due to new construction. Overall, new construction in the County contributed 1.1 percent of the 2.2 percent overall tax base growth.
The 5.6-percent increase in residential property value increased the average single-family property from $686,300 to $724,400. For CY 2021, approximately 90 percent of residential property owners saw their assessed value increase while the rest remained unchanged or declined. Residential properties include condominiums, townhouses and detached homes.
Assessments will be mailed to Arlington property owners beginning January 15. Assessment information will be available online Friday, Jan. 15, after 11 p.m.
Look up your 2021 property assessment (2021 data available after 11 p.m. Friday, Jan. 15)
Shortfall Remains in Upcoming Budget
More than 10 months into the COVID-19 pandemic, the County continues to feel the economic impacts on local revenues, including the slowdown in sales, meals and hotel taxes, as well as cost increases and additional costs related to the pandemic. The projected budget shortfall remains at more than $40 million, excluding the needs of the Arlington Public Schools (APS).
In November, the Arlington County Board directed Schwartz to develop the FY 2022 budget with “a range of economic forecasts from a worst-case to a best-case assessment,” including reducing programs and services where necessary and potential for tax rate increases, including real estate and cigarette tax rate increases and a plastic bag tax. The County Board also asked Schwartz to focus on supporting residents and businesses hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Schwartz will present his budget to the County Board in late February.
About Real Estate Assessments
Real estate assessments are appraisals. They are the County’s opinion of fair market value for each parcel of real property in Arlington. Assessments are made using accepted methods, standards and techniques of the real estate appraisal and assessment profession. Get more information about real estate assessments in Arlington.