Booming market pushes appraisal values through roof

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Many Austin homeowners were in shock after seeing their latest appraisal value.

Because of it residents throughout the city are seeing an increase in their taxes. Some say they owe thousands more than they did last year.

The chief appraiser with the Travis Central Appraiser District says the increased appraisals are reflecting that of the market.

“I’m holding a $10,000 property tax bill here, an $8,000 bill here and a $6,000 bill here,” said John Anderson. “That’s a lot!”

He works as an electrician and owns his own business and also rents out a house he owns in Hyde Park.

At one time he made money. Now he says he’s just losing it. “I’ve been here since 1985 and I’ve never seen anything like this.”

He’s not the only one affected by the increase. His tenants will also feel the impact once it comes time to renew their lease.

“I will have to raise (rent),” Anderson said. “When the lease expires it will have to go up, and rental property is already unaffordable. I have no choice. Or I’ll have to get rid of it and let someone else buy it.”

Anderson’s rental property in Hyde Park just went up 22 percent.

The Travis County Appraisers office says the tax increase however is in line with Austin’s growing economy.

“In Austin we have a very strong real estate market,” said Marya Crigler, the chief appraiser. “Sales prices are indicating an increase in market value and appraisals are reflecting that in the real estate market.”

And if things don’t change, Anderson may have to consider moving out of Austin.

You have legal ways to lower your tax bill. The most important one for most families is a homestead exemption. It caps how much your tax bill can go up each year but only on your primary residence.

But it’s too late to submit the form for this year. What you can do is protest an overvalued appraisal.

Usually you need to get a written protest in by June 1 in order to make your case, but this year officials expect to extend the deadline because of number of people they anticipate will protest. You are able to protest the property value of your home by filling out the back of the form and mailing it back to the appraiser’s office.

Depending on how many appeals they get, they may extend the deadline from August to October.

Here are some options for you if you’re looking for private law firms and other agencies that specialize in tax appraisal protests.

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