The Austin Statesman published this map today of the property value increases around Austin, broken down by School District area, for 2008. There is a link to the full story below.
This is a good time to once again draw the distinction between the Appraised Value of a home for property tax purposes, as set by the County in which the home is located, versus Market Value of a home, which is determined of course by supply and demand.
The County does in fact attempt to value your home at market value, but they do not have the resources to perform an individual market analysis for each property. Instead, they paint with a broad brush across neighborhoods and areas.
The majority of appraised values around Austin are below market value, but there are plenty that are above. Also, just because the Appraised Value of a home increased 12% from last year, that doesn’t mean the Market Value of your home (what you could actually sell it for compared to last year) increased by that amount. The appraised value was probably low to start with, so the amount of the appraised value increase may or may not have any correlation with true market value.
Yesterday a home owner contacted me asking for a CMA on his home. The County appraised value is over $200K. The CMA I ran showed the market value, as of Jan 1st of this year, at about $180K. That owner will need to file a protest, gather data, and attend a protest hearing to have the price lowered. Otherwise, he’ll be paying too much in property taxes to Travis County. So don’t assume your value is low. It may be located in one of the neighborhoods or price ranges where the broad brush of the county over-estimates the value.