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Posted at 1:25 PM ET, 03/ 2/2011

D.C. property assessments rise modestly for 2012

By Mike DeBonis


More good financial news for the District government: New property assessments show modest growth in the city's tax base, making up the ground lost by last year's declining assessments. That's bittersweet news for taxpayers, many of whom will see their bills rise, and it's especially bad for commercial property owners.

Property owners this week started receiving assessment notices from the Office of Tax and Revenue for the bills they will begin paying next March. Most of the 6.34 percent citywide increase is driven by business property, according to OTR figures -- the commercial base, which is taxed at a higher rate, has risen in value by 16 percent; meanwhile, residential values have risen by only 0.12 percent citywide.

The data comes one day after Chief Financial Office Natwar M. Gandhi, who oversees OTR, announced that city revenues have been revised upward by more than $100 million, driven largely by a recovering commercial real estate market.

In a analytical report delivered last month [PDF], the city's head appraiser, David W. Fitzgibbon, said the new figures "reflect some good news."

"While the bleeding has not stopped, it now appears that the patient will not be lost," Fitzgibbon wrote. "The commercial market, in particular the office market, shows a dramatic increase with values increasing by some accounts as much as 20 percent."

Most of the commercial property increases were seen in the city's central business district. On the residential side, the city's western neighborhoods on average increased more than in northern and eastern neighborhoods. The Garfield subdivision, in Ward 3, had the biggest increase in the city, of 7.3 percent, followed by the Central area, at 5.4 percent. The Ward 7 neighborhoods of Hillcrest (-8.9 percent), Deanwood (-9.2 percent) and "Lily Ponds" (-10.11 percent) saw the largest decreases.

Property owners have until April 1 to appeal their assessment

Here is a table of aggregate residential property values, sorted by percent change (a map of the data is above):

2012 Assessments Residential

Here is a table of aggregate commercial property values by neighborhood, sorted by percentage change:

2012 Assessments Commercial

By Mike DeBonis  | March 2, 2011; 1:25 PM ET
Categories:  The District  
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Rise Modestly for 2012??? - Our DC residential property assessment jumped 9.6% between 2011 and 2012.

That sounds like a tax grab to me, certainly not a fair valuation for an increase in property values during this down housing market.

We love the Shaw neighborhood where we live, but I don't think it has improved by almost 10% in just one year.

Posted by: zablud | March 2, 2011 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Keep in mind that assessments would also go up because of property improvement, or transfer of ownership (when someone buys a house, it jumps to the sales price from what could be a really low number based on long time residency). So it wouldn't be all about rising property values or assumed rising value.

Posted by: TresLuxe | March 3, 2011 4:01 AM | Report abuse

Agree, this seems like a tax grab. There is no way property values increased 10% over the past year. Mine also went up 9.6%, and there were no improvements or change in ownership.

Posted by: s_milb | March 3, 2011 12:17 PM | Report abuse

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