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Halifax County home values decline

Property values in Halifax County have fallen about 1 to 2 percent across the board over the past two years, according to the most recent reassessment of real estate, but land values seemed to have held their own.

Halifax County Assessor Harold Throckmorton said Friday his office is fielding telephone calls concerning the recent reassessments after proposed owners received tax assessment notices in the mail earlier this month.

Assessments are conducted every two years, and prior to the latest update, the value of all county real estate in Halifax County was $2,625,336,855, he said.

Overall home values reflected a downward trend this time, “but this is not for all of them,” he said, noting that houses in the Brentwood Subdivision of South Boston increased in assessed values.

He said in the 2012 assessment, Brentwood residences were down in value “quite a bit,” and the 2014 assessment corrected that.

Concerning land values, he said most property held its value, “with some cutover land coming down a bit.” 

Sale figures were based on 25-30 qualified sales per month between January and August.

When conducting an assessment, Throckmorton explained certain types of sales and transactions are excluded for the purpose of conducting an assessment sales ratio study including sales with the same surname, deed of gift, forced sale such as foreclosure, divorce, bankruptcy or special commissioner, a sale between government or private tax exempt entity and the sale of an undivided interest.

Also excluded are partial conveyance of property creating a new parcel, sale between co-tenants, deed of trust, cemetery lots, deed of exchange, timber easement, quit claim or mineral rights deeds, manufactured homes if classified as tangible personal property, new construction, auction sales, sale price identical to assessed value, sale between bank and contractor, rezoned property, date of deed is substantially different from date of recordation and any sale or consideration less than $5,000.

When determining a home’s assessed value, Throckmorton said his office takes into consideration the square footage of a home, its structure, age, heating and air conditioning, roof and foundation in some cases, the number of bathrooms, the number of fireplaces and size of a basement.

The county assessor broke down the decreases in the eight magisterial districts explaining ED-1 was at .9835 percent; ED-2 was .9817 percent; ED-3 was .9743 percent; ED-4 was .9904 percent; ED-5 was .9828 percent; ED-6 was .9873 percent; ED-7 was .9866; and ED-8 was .9894.

Assessments in the Town of South Boston reflected decreases .9854 percent; Town of Halifax showed a decline .9769; Town of Virgilina was .9871 percent; and Town of Scottsburg was .9713.

Minerals (at the rock quarry) reflected an increase of 1.8961 percent, Throckmorton said.

Also factored into the recent reassessments was whether timber has been cut from a property and buildings that had been torn down, he said.

He urged the public to report when they cut timber or tear down a building because his office takes off the value of the timber for the appraisal but not the amount for which it actually sold.

Throckmorton said his office expects to complete its review of all property reassessments by the end of December.

Property owners who wish to discuss their assessment notices should contact his office at 476-9820 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Appointments will be scheduled for the first two weeks in December at the reassessment office located in the Mary Bethune office complex in Halifax.

Throckmorton explained assessors will consider any mistakes that property owners can show have been made during the process. If property owners continue to be dissatisfied with their estimated tax values, they can take their complaints to the Board of Equalization, which will meet the first two weeks in March.

Members of the Board of Equalization include Douglas Powell, Dewey Compton and Clifford Somerville.

Appeal forms can be obtained from the reassessment office.