WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Homeowners in Central Texas could see some significant increases in their home values this year. Williamson County’s appraisal district is projecting a near 40% increase for some neighborhoods in the county.
“Seeing your investment increase by 40 to 50% in one year — that’s a really good thing,” said Alvin Lankford, Williamson County chief appraiser.
Inside Williamson County’s appraisal district, Lankford’s hands have been full as his team looks to send out home valuations in the coming weeks.
February home sales rose 32.3% to 857 sales in Williamson County, according to an Austin Board of Realtors report.
The median price rose 32.7% to $479,000 as new listings jumped 10.8% to 921 listings. During the same period, active listings rose 14.6% to 307 listings, and pending sales also increased 26.7% to 960 pending sales.
Lankford doesn’t anticipate the 40-50% jump only coming from homes along the Williamson County and Travis County line, but in smaller cities like Taylor and Hutto, too.
“We’re seeing houses in Taylor exceed that in some cases with the announcement of Samsung,” said Lankford.
High home valuations generally means higher property taxes. Lankford said your homestead exemption should come in handy this year.
“Thankfully in Texas, if it is your primary residence, and you have a homestead filed with us the prior January 1 … so in this case, Jan. 1 of 2021, then you’re protected by the homestead cap,” said Lankford.
A residence homestead is protected from future assessed value increases in excess of 10% per year from the date of the last assessed value plus the value of any new improvements, according to WCAD.
In many cases, homebuyers are offering over asking prices to seal the deal. According to ABoR, sales dollar volume skyrocketed 78.2% year-over-year to $451,852,940.
So what does it mean when is comes to wondering whether or not a home will appraise for the over-asking price?
“If you’re going to love your house, and you’re not buying it to flip it, there’s no worries,” said Rita Snyder with Veranda Realty Group. “When homebuyers have a fear of not making money or not being able to sell in the future for what they paid for it, I think it’s unfounded in the sense that most homebuyers stay in their house for 5 to 10 years.”
Long-time realtor Snyder said no promises but chances are the over-asking price you’re asking should appraise. WCAD Lankford agreed, which is the reason why many people are waiving appraisals in this market.
“The buyers needs to know that as sales occur at that level, the value of all properties raise. It’s not that they’re paying over-market just hasn’t been set yet,” said Lankford. “Doing an appraisal today will not equal the price that’s being paid today, because they’re using sales that occurred over the last month. In this case, the market is moving so quickly, they can’t keep up with it.”
Texas home appraisals generally come out at the end of March to the first week of April.
What do other markets look like?
In Hays County, the median home price is more than 40% higher than this time last year. Caldwell County is 50% higher, and Bastrop County prices are 60% higher. While homes in Travis County currently cost more, the rate of growth in areas outside the center of the metro area is also catching up.
In 2019, the Texas Legislature did pass a property tax bill. One of the bigger provisions requires cities, counties and other taxing units to go to the voters if they want to hike taxes by 3.5% or more from the previous year.
This doesn’t count for taxes on new construction.
It can also be averaged out of over three years. At the time city leaders worried this would hamstring their budgets, but lawmakers in favor of the cap argued home values continue to rise so quickly, taxes under the caps would still make up for what they would lose out on.