Arlington Property Values Rise in 2019, But Budget Choices Remain

Published on January 25, 2019

The value of most residential and commercial property in Arlington increased in the County's 2019 real estate assessments, mailed to property owners on Jan. 25. Though the County will collect more property tax as a result, it won't be enough to close an anticipated gap in the County's and Arlington Public Schools' operating budgets for the coming fiscal year.

Overall, the total assessed value of all residential and commercial property increased by 3.5 percent, compared to 2.2 percent the previous year.

Residential properties collectively increased 2.9 percent. About 3 in 4 saw their assessed value go up while the rest remained unchanged or went down. The average home value, inclusive of condominiums, townhouses and detached homes, is now $658,600, up from $640,900 last year.

MORE: Learn more about Arlington's annual property assessment process

"Rising property values mean Arlington is a place people want to live and work," County Manager Mark Schwartz said. "And the revenue we collect from real estate taxes helps us maintain the high-quality amenities and public services that make Arlington so attractive."

Commercial properties increased in 2019, too — 4.1 percent overall. Hotels, apartments and office properties all gained value, with new construction of apartments responsible for about a third of the collective increase.

Office properties, which saw a decline in 2018, rose 4.3 percent this year. While improved from last year, the office segment continues to be affected by a 17.4-percent vacancy rate. This is expected to improve over the long term as Amazon and its ancillary impacts gradually take hold.

Calendar Year 2019 assessments were mailed to Arlington property owners on Friday, Jan. 25. Assessment information will be available online Friday, Jan. 25, at 6 p.m. The 2019 assessments are an estimate of fair market value as of Jan. 1, 2019.

MORE: Look up your 2019 property assessment (available Friday, Jan. 25, at 6 p.m.)

Choices remain for County's upcoming budget

Arlington, like all local governments in Virginia, relies heavily on revenue generated from real estate taxes to fund services for residents, visitors, businesses and workers. Last year, real estate taxes provided 57 percent of total County revenues.

Despite an anticipated increase in revenues resulting from higher assessed values, the County will still face choices as it develops an operating budget for its 2020 fiscal year. Revenue growth is not expected to keep pace with growing expenditure pressures, including additional funding for Metro, investments in public infrastructure and schools, and employee compensation, including public safety pay.

In the fall of 2018, the County Board directed the County Manager to propose a balanced budget with multiple options, including reductions or eliminations to personnel or programs, long-term efficiencies and improvements, program and service enhancements if funded by reallocations or increased revenue, and potential tax increases.

The County Manager and Arlington Public Schools (APS) Superintendent will present their budgets to the County Board in late February.

MORE: Follow the FY 2020 budget development process

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. For more information, visit the County webpages on real estate assessments.