The competitive real estate market and overall growth in Tarrant County spurred property values to experience a double-digit increase for the second year in a row and — not surprisingly — spurred property owners to file a large number of protests, according to the Tarrant Appraisal District.
The overall market value of property in 2017 jumped 10.6 percent to $219.4 billion from $198.3 billion, following a 14 percent jump in 2016, chief appraiser Jeff Law said.
Even after applying a mandatory 10 percent cap, the appraised value of property still went up 11.4 percent to $189.8 billion and, when digging even deeper into the numbers, the net taxable value jumped a whopping 13.4 percent to $176.3 billion, according to a district report.
Earlier this year, Law estimated taxable values would jump 5 to 8 percent. But after more complete data came in, particularly on commercial properties, Law said he knew his estimate was wrong.
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“I was being overly cautious because I didn’t want to overstate the number … ,” Law said. “The residential market has been very strong and now that we have all the commercial data in, we’re saying about 13 percent” increase on taxable value.
Reports from the industry support Law’s views on the hot real estate market.
The Texas A&M Real Estate Center’s April report shows that the median price for a home in Tarrant County was up 14 percent from last year, to about $217,000. The same report said that the available housing inventory was at less than two months. A 5- to 7-month housing stock is considered healthy.
There also is a Census Bureau report showing that in 2015-2016 Dallas-Fort Worth ranked as the fastest growing metro area by population, partially because of people moving here for jobs. Fort Worth also is attractive because of its 71,000 acres of land suitable for development.
By the May 31 deadline, 89,354 protests had been filed but about 45,000 cases had already been resolved — 11,700 through an online appeal process.
Having said all that, it’s not a shock that a lot of folks filed protests “when we see value increases like this,” Law said.
By the May 31 deadline, 89,354 protests had been filed, a number that could reach the mid-90,000s when all of the appeals have been entered into the computer system, he said.
The good news is that, unlike previous years when computer snafus contributed to big backlogs, about 45,000 cases have already been resolved.
Law partially credits the clearance rate to the online appeal process. He said more than 22,000 property owners went online to protest, with 11,700 reaching a settlement. Last year, only 1,450 of the accounts were settled that way.
“That’s a pretty good clearing rate,” Law said. “We are much farther along [this year] in getting protests and getting them resolved.”
This story contains material from the Star-Telegram archives.