Arlington, Va property values increase modestly

Arlington County issued the following press release on January 15, 2016. Most of us can expect to see a slight uptick in our assessments and hence a slight increase in our taxes. No one likes taxes, but everyone likes their home value to increase so try to smile when you pay up.

Arlington 2016 Property Values Increase Modestly

  • Overall increase of 2.8%
  • Average residential property up 2.8%, to $603,500
  • Commercial values slightly positive
  • Assessments available online 11 p.m. tonight

Arlington County real estate assessments for 2016 show an overall increase in property values of 2.8 percent over 2015. Residential and commercial property values increased slightly.

The value of the average Arlington residence (existing single-family properties, including condominiums, townhouses and detached homes), increased 2.8 percent from $587,100 in Calendar Year (CY) 2015 to $603,500 in CY 2016. New construction value was up 0.7 percent, and existing real estate value was up 2.1 percent.

“Arlington’s real estate market remains solid,” said Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz. “We see strength in both our residential market and commercial properties, particularly new construction. This is the best evidence that Arlington remains a very desirable place to live and do business.”

Real estate assessments will be mailed today to all Arlington property owners. Calendar Year (CY) 2016 assessment information also will be available online at 11 p.m. tonight. Look up your property assessment.

The commercial tax base, which includes office buildings, apartments, hotels, and retail, increased 1.3 percent over CY 2015 for existing properties.

Existing office property values increased 2.2 percent, due in part to a stabilizing office vacancy rate. Apartments, which represent just over 40 percent of the commercial tax base, increased in value almost 5 percent, with half of this growth from new construction. Values of general commercial property (which includes various types of retail) declined 3.5 percent, due in large part to redevelopment and to general commercial properties becoming commercial office space.

Budget outlook


As the County develops its Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Budget, the challenge is to balance investment needs – including strategic investments necessary to enhance Arlington’s economic competitiveness, respond to growth in school enrollment, and meet other core service demands — with the need to minimize the burden on County taxpayers.

The Board gave the County Manager budget guidance in November 2015 for the FY 2017 Budget. At that time, tax revenues were projected to increase from 1.9 percent to 2.4 percent, and there was a projected combined County and School gap of approximately $15 million. With slightly higher real estate assessments, additional funding can be considered by the County Board during the FY 2017 budget process to address County and School needs.

The County’s single largest cost is funding the Arlington Public School (APS) system. For FY 2016, the County’s funding of Schools is 46.5 percent of all local tax revenue and an investment of more than $18,000 per student. Continued year-over-year growth in school enrollment has led to the need to expand some School facilities and build new ones. Educational costs also have risen.

Both the County and Schools have prioritized needs and made funding decisions over the last several years during lean financial times. The County and Schools will work with the community to balance their priorities within this year’s fiscal constraints. The County Manager and School Superintendent will present their proposed budgets to the County Board and School Board in late February. The County Board will set the real estate tax rate in April.

For more information on the budget process, visit the County’s Budget web page.

About real estate assessments


Real estate assessments are appraisals — the County’s opinions of value for each parcel of real property in Arlington. Assessments are made according to accepted methods, techniques, and standards of the real estate appraisal and assessment profession. The 2016 assessment is an estimate of the fair market value as of January 1, 2016.

Residential assessments were based primarily on neighborhood sales occurring July 1, 2014 through August 31, 2015. The real estate tax rate determines the amount of tax that is levied on the property. A uniform tax rate for all real property is set by the Arlington County Board. State code requires the County Board to use a uniform tax rate. In addition, Arlington levies additional taxes on commercial and industrial properties dedicated to transportation investments, as well as taxes for business improvement and sanitary sewer needs.

For more information, visit the County website and search “real estate assessment.”


Media Contact: Richard Stephenson, 703-228-3412.

Yes, Virginia…Virginia is a Buyer Beware State when it come to Real Estate


Considering buying real estate in Virginia? If this is your first time you need to know, Virginia is a Buyer Beware state. With few exceptions, real estate transactions are governed by the laws of the state that the transaction occurs in. People who have purchased real estate in other states are often surprised by the lack of protection Virginia provides buyers. Here is the first article in the Virginia Residential Disclosure Act which will govern your purchase:

  1. CONDITION: The owner makes no representations or warranties as to the condition of the real property or any improvements thereon, and purchasers are advised to exercise whatever due diligence a particular purchaser deems necessary including obtaining a certified home inspection, as defined in § 54.1-500, in accordance with terms and conditions as may be contained in the real estate purchase contract, but in any event, prior to settlement pursuant to such contract.

54.1-500 noted above defines what a certified home inspector is.

This is sometimes a tough pill to swallow for first time buyers or for people who have bought property in other states where the state may favor the buyer and require sellers to disclose a lot of information about the condition of the property.

It’s important to know this when you are buying a home. Unless you are an experienced contractor, or you are tearing down the home to build something else, you must (well the law doesn’t make you but your realtor should insist)get a home inspection. The home inspection can uncover any defects that you may want the seller to remedy and also allows for you to void the contract.

Additionally, if you have any concerns about that vacant lot next to your dream home, a quick call to the county would be in order. It may be the beautiful home of your new best friends or the newest 7-11 in the neighborhood….nearby slurpees may be your thing, but if they are not….you may want to know about it.


Get your Real Estate Statistics for Arlington, Va

December Statistics are in. Here they are:


The average Arlington, Va sold prices barely changed dropping to $641,971 from $645,962 in 2014. The median sold price dropped just a bit from $571,000 to $559,000. The average list price for colds dropped a small amount from $658,627 to $651,786 and the average list sales price to list price ratio was 96.3%

It could be tempting to say that the Arlington, Va real estate market has been mostly flat year over year but if we go a little deeper we can see that the average price for detached homes went up fairly significantly from $880,991 to $945,824. The drop in average sales prices came from attached homes (condos/townhomes etc) which dropped from an average of $471,803 to $441,653. The general takeaway is that you “may” expect to pay less for an Arlington, Va townhouse or condo this year then you would have last year and you “may” expect to pay more for a single family home.

This is important information when you are pricing your home or making an offer. Information is your ammunition. These statistics are general and county wide so if you are getting ready to list or thinking of buying you need to have your agent look closely at your neighborhood statistics. That’s why I put “may” in quotes above. When it comes to the amount you offer or list your home for, location is everything, even in a geography as small as Arlington. Some condo complexes may have gone up in popularity and price, while others may have seen a decline. The same is true for various neighborhoods around Arlington.  Make sure you do you your homework.

Arlington County to open at noon today

Arlington County Government Will Open at Noon Tuesday

  • County offices, facilities, most courts will open 12 p.m. Tuesday
  • County Board Meeting will convene at 3 p.m.
  • Arlington Public Schools remain closed through Wednesday
  • County urges everyone to help clear sidewalks

Arlington County Government offices, facilities, Circuit, Juvenile and Domestic Relations courts will open to the public at noon on Tuesday, Jan. 26 in the aftermath of the blizzard that slammed the region last Friday and Saturday.

Arlington County General District Court will be closed.

County crews are now deep into Phase 3 of snow cleanup operations, focusing on residential streets. In many areas, crews have had to bring in heavy construction equipment to break through snow/ice banks at the ends of streets so plows can get in.

The goal is to get to all neighborhood streets by Tuesday night but it may take until Wednesday, Jan. 27, to reach some sections given the amount of snowfall and related conditions, including buried parked cars.

County officials are asking residents for continued patience as enormous amounts of snow are removed from roadways and, in many cases, transported miles away. Overnight temperatures are forecast to drop below freezing early Tuesday, creating new icy conditions that will complicate the cleanup and make travel difficult in some areas.

Residents can check for updates on the recovery by visiting the County snow progress map (updated after each 12-hour shift) and report a snow issue online or by calling 703-228-6485.

Unscheduled leave and telework options are encouraged for County employees, with supervisor’s approval.

Many Parks and Recreation programs are canceled. Arlington Public Library will operate on an abbreviated Tuesday schedule beginning at noon with no children’s programs.

Schools closed through Wednesday

Arlington Public Schools will remain closed through Wednesday. School officials ask the community to assist in clearing school bus stops and nearby sidewalks in advance of students heading back to class.

Trash and recycling

Trash and recycling services are canceled for Monday, Jan. 25 and Tuesday, Jan. 26, to assist snow crews in the clearing of residential streets. Service for Monday and Tuesday customers will resume next Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 1 and 2.

County Board Meeting

The Arlington County Board will convene as scheduled Tuesday, Jan. 26, at 3 p.m. It will defer consideration of both the January Consent and Regular Agendas to the Recessed Meeting now scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 28.

The Tuesday Meeting will include:

  • Storm recovery snow report and vote on lifting of Local Emergency status
  • Board Reports
  • Manager’s Report
  • Update on Transportation Development Plan
  • Update on Rosslyn Highlands Park
  • Adjournment around 5 p.m. for closed session
  • Reconvene around 6:30 p.m. Public Comment will be heard at this time, and again at 6:30 p.m. at the Thursday, Jan. 28 Meeting.
  • Carry over Public Comment and Consent and Regular Agenda items to Thursday, Jan. 28 at 6:30 p.m.

Getting our community back up and running

Because of the massive amounts of snow that fell on area sidewalks, Arlington County has suspended enforcement of its Snow Removal Ordinance – meaning no citations will be issued during the cleanup.

However, the goals behind the ordinance remain: to keep pedestrians safe and ensure mobility for everyone. So all efforts to clear sidewalks for the community are appreciated. When clearing snow, shovel into yards if possible — not into the street.


Media Contact, Mary Curtius, 703-228-7943

Snow Priority List for Arlington, Va or Snowzilla…the Aftermath

If you would like to know if your street will be plowed anytime soon, follow this link….but only if you can deal with the reality. Otherwise, just make yourself another cup of tea (feel free to substitute any of the following: coffee/hot buttered rum/hot or cold wine/hot chocolate…with or without some added fortification…and no I didn’t mean marshmallows but feel free to improvise) and snuggle in for the duration.


Put in your street address and it will tell you if your street is VDOT maintained, is a primary route, secondary route or no route for the county. It’s gonna be awhile for me.

My cul-de-sac is not even on the list. 😦  But it’s a beautiful day for a little shoveling and no, if you were wondering, that big lump is not a snow drift…’s my car. Sigh. IMG_6076

How to shovel snow…and not hurt yourself

Ok, we’re just not that young anymore. Ok, even if you are, you haven’t seen a snow like this here…ever. A couple of feet and still snowing.

Here is a very timely video from my good friend and physical therapist Gabrielle Czaja. Watch this video and maybe you can avoid spending some quality time with her later on. The video was taken in front of my house and I’ve added a photo so you can see what it looked like 24 hours later.




Just a few hours later…my front walk


And I flexed to scoop. Still snowing though.