The average increase in home appraisals across Texas is 25%, but homeowners can apply for an exemption to limit it to 10%.
BELTON, Texas — Whether it’s rising prices, limited inventory or a boom in new builds, the Texas housing market has seen it all.
But, it’s left Bell County’s Chief Appraiser Billy White stunned.
“This is unprecedented … the fastest growing we’ve ever seen our housing market go,” he said.
White says Bell County is seeing what many Texas areas are seeing: houses selling for over asking price and less than half a month of inventory. He says a stable market should be six months of inventory.
These elements, along with others like neighborhoods, condition and age go into calculating a property’s appraisal.
“We try and follow what’s going on in the market,” he said. “Look at the sales, look at what information is out there and we’re just trying to mirror what’s going on in the market and set a value at what we think you would sell your house for on January 1.”
The current market has property values rising significantly. The average increase in home appraisals across Texas is 25% according to the Texas Association of Appraisal Districts.
White says Bell county is right there or maybe even more.
“Obviously some will be higher, some will be lower, but the median is probably 25 to 30%,” he explained.
The Tax Appraisal District of Bell County is still analyzing properties and information so there is no exact number and it’s able to change. White says last year the median percent change of residential properties was approximately 11%.
McLennan County will see an average rise of about 30%.
White says some counties are going up to 40% to 50%.
He expects many people to protest their appraisal notices once they see how much it’s increased.
“Obviously if they don’t think that it’s worth what we have appraised it, they can come and protest their value and typically discuss it with an appraiser with our staff here and see if they can resolve it,” White said. “If not, they can go before an appraisal review board and they can make a decision on what the value should be.”
But, he says you could also save your property from getting hit.
“If you have a homestead exemption, your assessed value, your appraised value, can only go up 10% from what it was assessed last year,” White said.
White says less than half the homes in Bell County have homestead exemptions but more people should take advantage of the opportunity.
If you forgot, you can file it now and even get credit for the last two years.
“Well the typical qualification for homesteads is you have to live in it as your primary residence and you have to actually have your driver’s license, in most cases, your driver’s license has to match your actual house address,” White added.
Rent houses or commercial properties don’t qualify for a homestead exemption.
It’s important to note that appraisals don’t entirely impact taxes. They’re just part of the equation.
It will be up to taxing entities like cities, counties or school districts to decide if the rise in home values will raise or decrease taxes.
The Tax Appraisal District of Bell County is hoping to have notices out to citizens by mid-April.