TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — The Travis Central Appraisal District (TCAD) said appraisal notices for the year are on their way to homeowners. Spoiler alert: Values are up. Way up.
TCAD said according to this year’s values, the 2022 median market value for a residential property in Travis County is $632,208.
KXAN has previously reported according to TCAD, the median home value was $413,403 in 2021 and $354,622 in 2020.
“In some areas, we’re looking at increases in market value of almost 40 to 50%. In some places, it may even be higher,” said Marya Crigler, Travis Central Appraisal District chief appraiser.
It’s what worries Dave W. Lofton III, who’s seen his value increase, especially over the last few years.
“My house, it hasn’t changed, it’s been the same,” he said. “They done built all these houses all around me, okay, they value my house on these houses that’s around me.”
In a press release on Thursday, the agency also said its market values “in recent years have been too low, particularly in areas of western Travis County.” That’s according to a review by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, which is done every two years, said TCAD.
The comptroller’s office told KXAN its study takes a look at a sample of property values within school districts. It sends that data back to the Texas Education Agency to help determine school funding.
While it said the study doesn’t have a direct impact on TCAD’s home market values, TCAD said it shows it “failed” to value properties at 100% of the market rate, as required by law, according to TCAD spokesperson Cynthia Martinez.
Martinez said it’s part of the reason why property owners’ increases might be higher than they expected, because TCAD has been too low the last couple years.
“The test that we had the last two years indicated that we were probably not being as aggressive in increasing the values as we should have been,” Crigler said.
She said the discrepancy comes from the data they have access to.
“We do have some limitations in the information that is available to the appraisal district. The state will have some different resources that will lead — lend their analysis to be slightly different than ours,” Crigler said.
But she said the biggest driving factor in increased market values is supply and demand.
“There’s a lot of demand for housing, but we have had a shortage of supply of housing,” she said.
Crigler also posted a message to homeowners, stating:
“These increases may seem intimidating. But it is important for property owners to understand that the appraisal district does not set local budgets or tax rates. Your city, county, and school district are among the taxing entities that determine how much money needs to be brought in every year by property taxes. Your taxable value helps determine what portion of that total you have to pay compared to your neighbors.”
But TCAD’s market values are what those taxing entities use in setting those rates, and the majority of folks will see property taxes go up, as we’ve seen in previous years.
Even with a homestead exemption, which caps his property tax increase at 10%, Lofton is worried he’ll be taxed out of his neighborhood of more than 40 years.
TCAD said updated market values will be posted on its website in the coming days.
“In addition to reviewing their market values, Travis County property owners are encouraged to check their exemption status and learn more about the protest process,” it said.
If you believe your property value is incorrect, you can protest it with the appraisal district.
The deadline to file is May 16. TCAD encourages folks to file through its online portal but will also accept protests by mail and via dropbox outside its office, located at 850 E. Anderson Ln.
“The informal process, which allows property owners to receive a settlement offer from the appraisal district, will begin April 18 and end June 30. During that time, property owners will have the opportunity to discuss their property with a TCAD appraiser,” stated the release.
You’ll have three to five days between the time you file your protest to schedule a meeting before TCAD assigns a date.
“Property owners who do not accept a settlement offer during the informal process will have the opportunity to present their case to the Travis Appraisal Review Board (ARB), an independent group of citizens authorized to resolve disputes between taxpayers and the appraisal district,” TCAD said.
ARB hearings are set to start in June.
Lofton said his protest failed last year, but he plans to try again this year.
“We expect this to be the busiest protest season we have ever had,” said Crigler. “Property owners should get their protests filed early to have the most opportunity to discuss their property with our appraisers.”
TCAD said its appraisal roll also increased 43% to $447 billion due to a 56% increase in residential properties, 54% increase in commercial properties and more than $5.8 billion in new construction.
TCAD will hold a webinar on the protest process Wednesday, April 27 at 11:30 a.m. You can register at: www.traviscad.org/webinars.
You can also find more information on market values and the protest process on TCAD’s website at www.traviscad.org.
Amendments that could help
In her message online, Crigler said voters could lower property taxes on May 7 via two state amendments.
“During this election, voters will weigh in on whether to increase school district exemptions from $25,000 to $40,000 and adjust tax ceilings for property owners who have an over 65 or disabled person exemption. School district taxes are the largest contributor to your property tax bill,” the message stated.