By Bill Oakey – April 15, 2021
This is far scarier than any Halloween in Austin. The new property tax appraisals are now posted on TCAD’s website. This year’s appraisals are horrific for homeowners. There are at least three reasons for this:
1. A lot of retail properties will have reduced valuations because of the pandemic. This includes restaurants, bars, hotels, etc. That will shift the burden to homeowners.
2. Secondly, there were no reappraisals done last year, so we now face a double whammy.
3. Finally, sharp increases in market values can be expected, because Austin is a hot spot, with a small inventory of homes for sale. Many houses are seeing multiple offers, and are selling for higher than the asking price. Check out this excellent article by Ken Martin in the Austin Bulldog.
The tax protest consultants are expecting a tsunami of anxious customers. People are being advised to get in line early, if they plan to protest. Check out the well-respected firm, Texas Protax here. The appraisals are split into two parts – improvements and land. Improvements do not mean things that you have done to your home. Anything sitting on the raw land is classified as improvements. And that is the only portion that you are allowed to protest.
The improvements appraisal on my property went up a staggering 163%!!
This is for one condo in a 3-unit building. The total appraisal, with land included, went up 56%! My estimated tax increase for this year is $605.00. So, off to the protest professionals I go! There is a 10% cap on the tax assessment than you can be hit with each year. But, if your appraisal exceeds the 10% cap, then you will be slapped with 10% assessment increases every year, until the assessed amount catches up to the market-based appraisal amount. If you own the property, but you don’t live there, then you don’t get the 10% annual cap. You are taxed on the full appraised amount all at once.
As bad as things look now, they could get even worse…
Austin is being marketed like a product. From New York to Chicago to Dubai – bankers, investors and developers are trying to cash in on our city. The long term residents are just an irritating nuisance that get in their way! The frightening twin demons of gentrification and displacement will rise to an alarming new level this year – not just in East Austin, but all over the city. So, what, if anything, does the City Council plan to do to help the longtime residents? The proposed new land development code, in its present form, would only make the problem exponentially worse.
There is no evidence in any of the 50 states, or any other country around the world that high density development and upzoning makes housing more affordable. Published reports indicate the exact opposite. You can read the full report here. Developers simply build more luxury units on each lot. This pushes up the land values, and the entire neighborhood sees steep increases in property taxes. It is not a complex mystery. It’s just a simple fact, that anyone can easily see with just a few minutes of online research.