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.
Also, without knowing whether the rate against which your appraised value with remain the same, increase or decrease, you don’t know for sure what the impact of the higher appraised value will be on the actual dollar amount you pay. Tax rates are not finalized usually until the Fall.
Regarding the increases and the Austin real estate market in general, the article quoted a Travis County representative with a comment that hits the mark:
“People are continuing to come into the area. And as long as we have population growth and low interest rates, we’re going to have continued demand for houses. It’s when demand dries up that house prices are likely to go down, and a well-located house is still selling well in this marketplace. The demand is still sufficient enough to keep values increasing.
I agree with that 100%, and it’s what we see and experience in the field. While many of the local Austin buyers are a bit skiddish as a result of watching too much news and reading to many articles about the national real estate market, we still have a lot of new people moving into Austin who are very happy to buy a home at the prices they find here, and they have a lot to choose from at present.
Previous Blog articles about Property Taxes.
How to Protest your Property Taxes in Travis County
Understanding the History of Texas Property Taxes
Property Tax Appraisals Rising in Austin Area
Texas Property Tax ‘Reform’ – Where’s the Beef?
Todays Austin Statesman Article about Property Tax Value Increases in Travis County