Property owners in Martinsville are learning this week that their values have increased dramatically since the last reassessment, but that doesn’t necessarily mean taxes will increase by the same amount.
Reassessment notices were mailed Monday, and residents are finding that the median home value in Martinsville has risen 31.42% over the past two years.
“It says on the notice ‘this is not a bill,'” Martinsville Revenue Commissioner Ruth Easley said. “In general, property values [commercial and residential] in the City have risen 20.34% since the last reassessment two years ago”.
Evaluators completed the biennial retest in Martinsville in late December, and anyone wishing to dispute the results can do so during the review period beginning January 17 and ending February 28. A property owner may also file an appeal request with the Board of Equalization. as long as it is done before April 3. Applications are available at the City Assessor’s office or can be downloaded online, the City’s website says.
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Regardless of a property’s assessed value, the real estate tax levied on the property is determined by the tax rate, and that number is determined by the City Council.
Easley said the current rate is 1.03975. This means that for every $100 of assessed value, an annual tax of $1.04 is charged. For a $100,000 house, the current tax is $1,040.
If the tax rate stayed the same and the value of a $100,000 home increased by an average of 31.42%, the new value would be $131,420 and the new tax would be $1,366.
But the City Council will consider the current tax rate based on the financial needs of the City when the city manager presents the annual budget. If the City reduces the rate, part of the increase would also be reduced. Easley says that a rate of 87 cents per $100 of value would not result in a tax increase, despite the huge increase in assessed value.
“The June tax bill won’t be affected by this because it’s the second half of last year’s bill,” Easley said. “The invoice due in December will reflect the reassessed values and what the City Council does with the rate.”
The rate for fiscal year 2024 will be set later this spring after the budget is submitted and a hearing is held. Notice of the public hearing will be published in the Martinsville Gazette 30 days prior to the hearing date, a City statement said.
Easley explained that while Henry County reappraises property on a four-year cycle and Patrick County does it every six years, Martinsville determines values every 24 months and those values reflect what the real estate market indicates, property sales prices and structure replacement value (the cost of materials and labor to rebuild a home or commercial property to its original condition of like quality).
“The city is required to do a reassessment every two years under state statute,” Easley said. “The drastic increase in values is due to the drastic increase in sales prices in the last 24 months. Buyers and sellers in the real estate market drove those values up.”
According to NeighborhoodScout, an online database of US neighborhood analytics, the median appreciation rate in Virginia last year was 15.47% and in the past two years it has increased by 23.43%. Virginia is ranked 17th in the country with a typical single-family home value of $335,198. The most expensive average is in Hawaii at $764,146 and the least expensive is West Virginia at $118,581.
Bill Wyatt is a reporter for the Martinsville Bulletin. You can reach him at 276-591-7543. Follow him @billdwyatt.