Texans are stunned when the estimated home values ​​skyrocket

Homeowners across Texas are experiencing sticker shock this month as home values ​​skyrocket, but experts have one message: Do not panic yet.

Appraisal messages have begun to leak over the past few weeks, and recent appraisals have raised home values ​​by hundreds of thousands of dollars in some cases. The increases are only the latest reflection of Texas’ competitive housing market, as the state continues to experience rapid population growth.

“It costs every year, but it’s the biggest – and I’m sure I’ll remember it for the rest of my life,” said Martha Valict, a San Antonio realtor whose home value rose $ 110,000 this year. She has already protested the estimate and is now helping others do the same.

Home values ​​are used to calculate state property taxes, and Texans are likely to face larger tax bills later this year. In Houston, the average price of a single-family home first climbed to $ 400,000, and in San Antonio, median home sales exceeded $ 300,000.

“Asking prices for homes are rising beyond anything you’ve probably ever seen,” Baksar district appraisal officials said in a statement this week. “Fewer properties offered for sale and high demand for housing mean price increases that are breaking records.”

Texas already has some of the highest property taxes in the state, and relies heavily on that revenue because the state does not impose an income tax. Only six states – Wisconsin, Vermont, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Illinois and New Jersey – have higher property tax rates, according to the personal financial website WalletHub.

But, experts say, it is not over until it is over. Estimated home values ​​are just the first steps before calculating property taxes, and homeowners have the opportunity to protest their bids.

An Older Home is Darkened by Building New Homes in Houston’s Independence Heights in 2019. (File photo)

Melissa Phillip, Houston Chronicle / Team Photographer

All Texans should remember that their real property tax bill is based on two factors, said Dick Levine, a senior tax analyst at Every Texan. The first is the taxable value of the home, which is based on the assessment and can be adjusted through various protests and exemptions. The second is the tax rate set by local authorities and other tax units.

“Just because your value is going up, you still do not know what your tax account is going to do until the whole process is over,” Levine said.

In the immediate future, homeowners should “get a plan” and protest their esteemed value if they have a case, said state Sen. Paul Batencourt, a Republican from Houston who has supported several property tax relief measures in recent years.

Most large counties have an online appeal system, where residents can bring up evidence that their estimated value does not match what was quoted. This could include recent home sales in the area that fall below the value, for example, or estimated costs for repairing home damage.

If you are lost, ask a realtor or consult your local assessment district for help.

“We went through similar flowering cycles in Texas all the way back in the ’80s,” Batancor said. “Things can be incredibly hot, as they are now, but it’s going to get cold. The point is to act this year. Don’t let those high values ​​get sent off if you know for sure you’re overrated.”

There is little money, Batancor said: When house values ​​reach record levels, tax rates fall. The state legislature approved a revocation of property tax policies in 2019, slowing down tax increases in subsequent years but not eliminating them altogether.

In addition, most homeowners are eligible for an exemption on the farm, which offers a $ 25,000 break in school property taxes. Texas law also limits year-on-year increases to the taxable value of a farmhouse by 10 percent.

And finally: before calculating the final tax bills, Texans can go to the polls on May 7 to vote for further tax breaks. Batancor authored the two proposed constitutional amendments, which passed the two chambers last summer with bipartisan support.

Proposal 1 would approve the tax reduction for elderly and disabled homeowners starting in 2023, while a second step seeks to raise the state exemption to $ 40,000.

The first proposal would offer relief to about 1.8 million seniors and 180,000 homeowners with disabilities, amounting to about $ 220 million in savings in 2024, Batancor said. The increased exemption for the school, meanwhile, will save homeowners about $ 176 a year starting this year, he added.

Actual savings will vary depending on local tax rates.


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