Staunton real estate assessments make large leap for some residents

STAUNTON – Staunton homeowners may have received their home valuations in the mail this week, and some have been surprised by the increase in the number.

According to a statement from the city, taxable properties in the city achieved an average increase in value of 10.14%.

There are 11,249 taxable properties in Staunton. Individual districts and city districts change at different rates, and the ratings of individual properties differ from the average change in the city as a whole, according to the press release.

However, according to a feed from the Staunton NextDoor app, some property owners are shocked to see their ratings increase by more than 20%. There have been a lot of people on social media posting that their property’s valuation has increased more than 20% and they’re not very happy about it.

“In general, I can say that the neighborhood growth range averages between 4% and 20%,” said City Assessor Charles Haney.

The city was unable to achieve a narrower average increase per district.

A reassessment takes place every two years. In 2019, taxable real estate in the city rose 7.67%.

Have you seen an increase in your assessment? Are you going to appeal? Let us know. Email reporter Laura Peters at [email protected]

The highlights:

  • Residential real estate – average increase of 10.86%
  • Commercial real estate – 7.92% average increase
  • Industrial real estate – average increase of 1.85%
  • Empty Land – 11.62% average increase
  • New build added – $ 15,906,277

Property owners have until March 30th to appeal the valuation.

Staunton City Council will also hold a public hearing prior to a change in the property tax rate. Taxes for 2021 have been calculated using the current tax rate of 95 cents per hundred, which is subject to change.

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The facts:

  • The city re-evaluates every two years, in odd years. The last reassessment took effect on January 1, 2021. The next re-evaluation will take effect on January 1, 2023. Notices of re-evaluation are usually sent out at the end of January of the new evaluation year.
  • The auditor’s main job is to estimate the fair value of local real estate. The amount of taxes paid by each property owner depends on the tax rate set by the city council (currently $ 0.95) and is determined by the amount of revenue required to provide city services. The amount of tax levied follows this formula:
  • Estimated value / 100 x tax rate = real estate taxes
  • For example, properties valued at $ 125,000 ($ 125,000 / $ 100) x $ 0.95 = $ 1,187.50

Appraisers evaluate a few things when evaluating a property for tax purposes. They investigate what similar properties are being sold for, the value of recent improvements, what income you may be generating, and other factors – like the property’s replacement cost, according to

But the bottom line is, the higher the appraised value of your home, the more tax you’ll pay, said.

Property valuations are just one factor that drives individual taxes, Haney said, and it was too early to determine how specific the valuation would affect taxes.

The other factor is the tax rate that the city council sets for the period of the pending assessments, he said.

According to Haney, some parts of the city may experience higher review rates due to availability and the desired product in the market.

“We study the sales in each evaluating neighborhood to determine the market value in those neighborhoods,” Haney said. “Therefore, the change in value can be different in each neighborhood, depending on factors such as apartment types, amenities and other influencing conditions.”

Haney said the rating changes are a direct response to market value and sales, but said it was too early to determine how COVID-19 has impacted those values.

The role the pandemic had in the market is ringing a bell for local realtor Shannon Harrington.

Harrington said the demand for homes has increased while the supply of real estate in the market has declined during COVID-19 as potential sellers have chosen not to move their home or put it up for sale during the pandemic. The houses that are in the market, Harrington said, have gone up in price.

That said, if someone buys a house now, they may have to sell it at a lower price a few years later.

It’s something she and other brokers saw before the 2008 market crash.

“For those of us who have been doing this for a long time, it feels so tight again,” said Harrington.

Still, Harrington said house prices were much lower when they originally moved to the city. “They’ve put on weight, but it’s more like they’re catching up,” she said.

Haney said the rise in review rates generally means the place is healthy and has a growing economy.

“A strong real estate market, as evidenced by soaring commercial and residential values, shows Staunton is a good place to invest in buying a home or owning a business,” he said.

How to appeal

According to Haney, 146 appeals were filed for the ratings in 2019. The city had 48 views so far for this year’s ratings.

Under Virginia law, the basis for a complaint must include one or both of the following: The property is not valued at fair value, and the property is not valued on an equal footing with other similar properties.

Applications for a review of the assessment by the city assessor must be submitted by March 1st.

The assessor’s office is located at 116 W. Beverley St. or by calling 540-332-3827. Complaints to the Compensation Commission must be submitted by March 20th. Complaint forms are available from the city administration.

Laura Peters is the trending reporter for The News Leader. Do you have a news tip about local trends or companies? Or a good function? You can reach reporter Laura Peters (she / she) at [email protected] Follow her @peterslaura. Subscribe to The News Leader at

Alison Cutler (she / she) is the Government Guard reporter for The News Leader. She grew up in Tucson, Arizona and graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. Contact Alison at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @ alisonjc2.