The Coming Sh*t Storm
I know, I know, the language has been getting a bit coarse here at TC, but there really is no better term to describe what will be blowing up in a week or so when the latest Loudoun County real estate assessments come out.Â Real estate values continue to plummet and show no sign of recovery any time soon.Â Supply has far outstripped demand and houses sit and sit on the market after continual price reductions.Â If the county assessor relies on comparable sales, the big problem is that nothing is selling even at reduced prices, so the comps are way out of date and out of the ballpark of current “value”.
This poses a huge dilema for county government.Â After all, they seemed to have no problem of assessing property at “100%” of value during the boom years, even while many people thought they were pushing ahead of the curve with assessed values to pre-adjust for continual increases.Â Somehow I think the same forecasting philosophy will not be used during the downturn.Â “I’m sorry Mr. Jones, we can only base your assessment on those sales from a year ago in your neighborhood, and who are we to guess what the current value is?Â We can only work off of comparable sales.”
Of course this is all just a bit of a shell game as the supervisors will adjust the tax rate to provide what they believe to be neccesary to run the county government (primarily the schools).Â What is most shocking and disappointing to me is that while the tax rate was reduced during our last “conservative Republican” board, annual expenditures for county government spending increased at unsustainable rates.Â Yet another echo of the national Republican malaise and misdirectionÂ at our county level.
On aÂ related note, if you didn’t follow the spat between a local real estate blogger and County Assessor Todd Kaufman, go to realdiablog.com and scroll back through the posts about this attempt at intimidation by Kaufman.Â Obviously he’s a bit sensitive about this issue.