Some areas of West Virginia are faced with increases in property taxes
despite continuous declines in property values due to high levels of
foreclosed and bankruptcy homes.
In Kanawha County, residents were informed that their taxes will be
going up. Homeowners reportedly questioned the decision, arguing that
taxes should not be increased when values of homes have declined.
Foreclosure numbers in the state, including foreclosed homes in Beckley WV,
might not be as high as in other U.S. states, but the region still felt
the impact of the housing market crisis, particularly in the values of
their homes. The announcement in Kanawha has prompted complaints from
homeowners who have seen their homes lose value over the past three
years or so. In addition, housing unit sales in most of the state’s
markets have also declined, causing further depression in the real
According to realtors, foreclosures in West Virginia
have not only depressed prices, but have also discouraged buy and sell
transactions. In Greenbrier County, for example, realtors reported that
around 1,300 properties were sold for at least $10,000 in 2005, but the
number has dropped to 610 in 2010 in the same price range.
Realtors stated that the lack of activity and the huge supplies of
foreclosed and bankruptcy homes have weighed down the prices of
properties in the state. This, some residents have argued, should be
enough reason not to raise property taxes. They asserted that since tax
assessments are based on the appraised value of properties, if the value
is down, so should the taxes.
Some market observers have explained that, in most cases, tax assessors
are a year or so behind in their assessment of property values. This
means that the impact of foreclosures listings
on values of homes in the region today might not be reflected on
property taxes until a year or two later. They also stated that values
of houses are not based merely on the property itself, but also on
The recent announcement of property tax increases had residents in
Kanawha questioning the validity of the method of assessing property
taxes in the region. They asserted that because of the huge number of
foreclosed and bankruptcy homes in the community, taxes should be going
down instead of up.