As forecast, assessments are rising sharply in Albemarle County, but not by the expected 18.7%, which was the 2003 increase, but instead a whopping 27.2%. A good chunk of that increase is coming from the rising value of raw land, though house values have climbed quite a bit, too. The biannual assessments are based on the actual value of homes, and do not reflect any action or decision on the part of the county; they are a product of the free market. Putting a positive spin on things, Lee Catlin says that the increase is a sign of “a very healthy and vibrant economic situation,” but they may just price people right out of their homes. Julie Stavitski has the story in today’s Progress.