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The original item was published from 2/15/2013 3:26:48 PM to 2/15/2013 3:39:22 PM.

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* Hampton City News

Posted on: February 15, 2013

[ARCHIVED] Decline of home values slows in Hampton

Home values declined in 2012, according to Hampton assessment numbers, but the drop was smaller than it was in 2011.

Residential property values declined by 4.14 percent in 2012. That decline follows the previous year’s 6.01 percent drop, and a drop of 2.7 percent the year before. Nearly a quarter of homes did not lose value in 2012, showing more stability in value than the previous year, when only 10 percent held their value.

Early projections last summer suggested a continuation of the market contraction seen in 2011, which would have resulted in a drop between 5 percent and 6 percent – but sales activity during the second half of the year revealed improving conditions, said City Assessor Brian Gordineer.

Since the city did not change the property tax rate when values started dropping, the declines mean homeowners have been paying less in home taxes. Three-quarters of Hampton residents have seen their tax bills drop by more than 10 percent in four years.

Residential properties account for about half of the total value of property in the city. Commercial properties and exempt properties (government buildings, churches and other non-taxable categories) were essentially flat. The total value of apartments grew by a percent, largely due to new construction. That puts the overall drop in value for the city at 2.33 percent. However, the drop is steeper once tax exemptions and tax relief programs are applied. The drop in the value of taxable properties was 2.87 percent: This is an improvement from the drop of taxable properties last year of 4.44 percent.

The assessment is the value of the property on Jan. 1, 2013. It becomes the basis for fiscal year 2014, with tax bills due in July. Notices to property owners whose assessment changed will be mailed Thursday, Feb. 14.

Also on Feb. 14 the city will debut a new online property search database at www.hampton.gov/propertysearch that offers a customized city services for an address. Residents (or potential homebuyers) can easily view such information as: zoning, Master Plan area, trash collection and street sweeping schedules, voting information and school zones. Another tab creates a report on neighborhood crime statistics. Property details, assessment history, property sales and tax history remain on the site, which is considerably faster and allows more users at a time.

Overall, that puts the city’s land book – or total property valuation – at $13.9 billion. Taxable value is $10.2 billion.
Assessor’s offices are required to assess property at 100 percent market value. The Virginia Department of Taxation audits their work by checking assessments to sales ratio. For the past three years, Hampton’s assessors have been within 2 percentage points of 100.
You can go online to watch an interview with the city assessor, learn more about the assessment process, and see a new map that shows where assessments changed in the city, and by how much.

APPEALS AND TAX RELIEF PROGRAMS

Property owners wishing to appeal their property assessment may file a review of assessment application (deadline to file is March 15, 2013). Forms are available online at www.hampton.gov/assessor, at the assessor's office, or can be requested by telephone at 757-727-8311. Property owners dissatisfied with the outcome of their appeal to the Assessor's Office may file an appeal to the Board of Review, a five-member citizen board appointed by City Council. The deadline to file a Board of Review application is April 1, 2013.
The city of Hampton offers tax relief, tax freezes or tax deferrals to homeowners who are at least 65 years of age or permanently and totally disabled and meet certain income and net worth requirements. Citizens are encouraged to contact the Commissioner of the Revenue at 757-727-6690 for more information on this program.

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