- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
At the conclusion of the three-year assessment period, assessment values for residential properties in Maryland decreased by 7 percent and in Charles County by 11 percent, according to data from the state Department of Assessments and Taxation.
In Charles County, the base for assessed residential properties was set at $4.5 billion and, upon reassessment, showed a full cash value of $4 billion. Commercial properties in the assessed area increased in value by nearly 3 percent, from $1.9 billion at the conclusion of the last assessment period to more than $2 billion at the conclusion of this period.
The assessed area for Charles County for a period ranging from January 2010 to January 2013 included properties in the northern central part of the county, including Waldorf, St. Charles and White Plains, according to data provided on the Assessments and Taxation department website. Properties are assessed at their current market value, according to a press release from the department, and aid in helping counties determine necessary adjustments in the property tax rate.
The changes are determined by county governments in the spring and reflected in July’s tax bills .
Although the market showed a decline over the three-year period for the assessed area of the county, data provided by the Real Estate Business Intelligence company showed that for the county as a whole, there has been an upturn in residential values and sale prices on homes versus the assessed value. In a report that assessed value for the county as a whole from January through November 2012, the average sold price of homes in the county was $239,666, almost a 5 percent increase from the overall 2011 value of $228,948. In November of this year, the median sold price for homes was $255,500, the highest rate since Jan. 2010.
Elsewhere in the region, the full cash value of assessed residential properties in Calvert County dropped by 13 percent and in St. Mary’s County by 8.4 percent. Commercial assessed properties in Calvert County showed a 2.2 percent increase and in St. Mary’s a decrease of less than 1 percent.
Paula Martino, government affairs director for the Southern Maryland Association of Realtors, noted that there is some disparity between the assessment and the actuality of the market.
“There's always a bit of a lag,” Martino said. “The market is always more dynamic than the assessment indicates.”
In response to the November home sales data, Martino said she is hopeful that this is an indication that the market has hit bottom and will continue to rise.
“Right now, we don't have as many foreclosures on the market, and that has a positive effect on the value of homes,” Martino said. “I'm certainly keeping both my fingers and my toes crossed in the hopes that the values will rise back up.”
Charles County Commissioners President Candice Quinn Kelly (D) said the assessment for this group was an unexpected disappointment.
“When the recession had first begun and that area was assessed, that year we saw a 29 percent decrease in values, and our taxes are based on those values,” Kelly said. “We were hoping to see that remain steady in the next assessment period or maybe even increase a little bit, but now with this 11 percent decrease from the last period, we're looking at a 40 percent decrease from when this first began. When we do the budget, we make our projections for the future years and what our revenue will be, and this was unexpected.”
Moving forward, Kelly said, the board will try to limit itself rather than imposing on those affected.
“We have to tighten the belt a little bit more now with this,” Kelly said. “It's a concern, but we'll have to work through it and fill the gaps we find without impacting citizens who are already struggling with taxes and expenses.”