Property values jump by 17 percent

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 17, 2005

Property values will nearly double last year’s average 9 percent increase, thanks to low interest rates and the city’s hot real estate market.

City Assessor Maria Kattman told the Suffolk City Council Wednesday that property values will jump by an average 17 percent this year. Assessments will be mailed out early next month.

Assessments are driven by the sales in a community and determined using a state formula, Kattman said. While the council can’t change an assessment, it can alter its impact on real estate taxes by changing the tax rate.

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Councilman Curtis R. Milteer Sr. on Wednesday called for the city to reduce the city’s tax rate by 5 cents.

&uot;I’m hoping we can look in this new assessment and knock the tax rate down by a nickel,&uot; Milteer said. &uot;This council does have the authority to adjust those rates…and I’m asking that we take an honest look at doing that.&uot;

Saying the assessment increase wasn’t surprising, Councilwoman Linda T. Johnson agreed that council should consider reducing the rate.

No doubt, that would come as good new for residents of Suburban Woods, the community with the highest assessment increase-44 percent.

Six neighborhoods, including Estates of Scottsfield, Nansemond Crossing, Stratford Terrace , Walnut Hills, West Village of Harbourview and Wilson Lake Estates, are all experiencing assessment increases upwards of 30 percent.

Assessments remained steady in a handful of neighborhoods, including Oakdale, Riverview Court Townhomes, Saratoga, South Suffolk, Boston-Williamstown, Hall Place and Holland Heights.

Wonderland Forest took it one step further; assessments in the neighborhood off Nansemond Parkway dropped by 1 percent.

For the fourth year running, Suffolk experienced record home sales last year, said Kattman.

Approximately 10 percent of the city’s parcels – 3,495 homes – exchanged hands during 2004. That’s nearly 1,000 more homes that were built in Suffolk in 2000.

&uot;That’s significant,&uot; Kattman said. &uot;Suffolk is one of the last cities with land area available for development.

&uot;Virginia Beach and Chesapeake have all reached build-out; they don’t have large tracts of land left where development can occur.&uot;