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Travis County’s taxable home values climb 8% for 2017


Highlights

Job, population growth continue to drive housing demand.

Deadline to file a protest over appraised value is May 31.

The average home value in Travis County rose nearly 8 percent for 2017, reflecting the continued strength in Central Texas’ housing market, the Travis Central Appraisal District said Tuesday.

The 7.9 percent increase pushed the average taxable value to $307,997, up from $285,332 last year, Chief Appraiser Marya Crigler said in releasing the preliminary figures. The taxable value is the market value of homes, after exemptions.

Last year, the average taxable home value in Travis County increased 8.7 percent.

“The Austin region continues to thrive as it enters its eighth year of positive trends in its real estate and overall economy,” Crigler said in a written statement. “While there has been a slight tempering of the feverish pace that has characterized the past few years, Austin continues to enjoy one of the more vibrant regional economies in the country.”

This year, the market value for houses with a homestead exemption rose 6.3 percent on average — to $412,092 from $387,537 last year, Crigler said. Last year, the average residential market value increase was 9 percent.

The median market value was up 7.9 percent, rising to $319,265 from $295,792 last year, Crigler said. The median means half of the houses in Travis County were valued at less than $319,265 and half at more than that amount.

Crigler’s office is mailing about 431,631 appraisal notices this week. About 65 percent of homeowners with a homestead exemption will benefit from a cap that limits increases to 10 percent over last year’s assessed value, Crigler said.

A map supplied by the appraisal district shows all areas east of Interstate 35 with double-digit appreciation in market values and most areas west of I-35 with single-digit appreciation.

Eldon Rude, a local real estate expert, said it makes sense that areas in eastern Travis County “generally had the most significant increase in values last year.”

“The market areas in Travis County with the lowest housing inventory levels are generally those that have the most housing stock priced below $350,000, and most of these areas are located east of I-35 — Pflugerville, Manor, Del Valle and Southeast Austin,” Rude said.

For all properties in Travis County — residential and commercial — the preliminary taxable value for the overall roll jumped 16 percent over 2016, Crigler said. The value rose to $180 billion from $155 billion last year, led by a 23 percent increase in commercial values, Crigler said.

Crigler said the Austin area remains among the top cities in job growth and low unemployment (3.2 percent). The region added 31,100 jobs in 2016, a growth rate of 3.3 percent, she said. Strong job growth also spurred strong population growth of 3.3 percent in 2016, she said.

“This steady job and population growth remains the primary reason behind the strong demand for housing; however, the supply of housing continues to lag behind this strong demand,” Crigler said — an imbalance that experts say has been driving prices higher and leading to affordability issues for many residents.

Charles Heimsath, a local real estate expert, echoed Crigler’s comments.

“Appraised values continue to increase due to strong demand and limited supply of single family homes, particularly for homes priced at less than $400,000,” said Heimsath, president of Capitol Market Research, an Austin real estate consulting firm.

Rude said a combination of slightly slower job growth that the region is experiencing, along with an increase in housing supply, “will likely begin to ease the severe imbalance we have seen in supply and demand for housing.”

“Looking forward I expect home values in the area will continue to go up, although at a more moderate pace than we have experienced over the last few years,” Rude said.

Crigler said Austin “remains one of the top tech and business-friendly metro areas in the country, and we expect Austin to continue to benefit from a burgeoning high-tech economy as the economic and demographic fundamentals remain favorable.”

Last year, she noted, Google, Facebook, and Apple continued to build out their Austin sites, while Oracle broke ground on its new corporate campus in East Austin.

With each year’s appraised values reflecting sales that generally occurred the year before, appraisals are a lagging economic indicator, experts say. That means they “are not fully indicative of current market conditions, which according to most economic indicators, suggest a slowdown in regional growth,” Heimsath said.



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