The district is advising property owners that Houston’s booming economy is going to have an impact on property values for 2014.
“Property values across most of the property types are increasing,” said Sands Stiefer, chief appraiser. The property types include residential, commercial (apartments, office buildings, retail, medical offices, hospitals, hotels, warehouses) and industrial (manufacturing, refineries and chemical plants).
“Many property owners will likely be looking at value increases this year, while taxing jurisdictions should expect to see increases in their taxable value base upwards of 5 percent or more this year,” Stiefer said. “The Harris County economy is improving overall, but it is not moving at the same rate throughout the entire county. There may be some neighborhoods with very active residential markets that will have larger value increases as warranted by market appreciation.”
Stiefer explained that the appraisal district is required by law to appraise all property at 100 percent of market value. The Texas Comptroller’s office measures the district’s success in a Property Value Study it conducts every two years. The latest study found that in 2013, the district achieved an overall median level of appraisal of 103 percent, with residential property appraised at a median level of 97 percent of market value, commercial real property appraised at a median of 101 percent and business personal property at 99 percent.
“The study found our values to be very uniform, with more than 85 percent of the property sampled having appraisal ratios within 10 percent of the median,” Stiefer said.
Specific information for the property types is below, and market area maps are available on the HCAD web site at www.hcad.org under “2014 Reappraisal Values.” Individual values of property also are available at www.hcad.org .
As a result of reappraisal, the total residential property base in Harris County will see a 15.5 percent increase in market value. However, the addition of new construction will result in a 16.6 percent overall value increase in the residential property category.
The homes priced $500,000 and up are driving the sales and these are occurring primarily in north and northwest sections of the county as well as inside The Loop. These categories of homes reported the highest sales volume and pricing increases. However, homes in all price ranges may see value increases.
Foreclosures have dropped from the double digits (19 percent in calendar year 2013) to under 10 percent this year, which is an indication of a normal economy.
Exemptions can provide significant relief for some taxpayers by reducing taxable value and tax levies. Residence homestead exemptions apply to most owner-occupied homes in Texas and are the most common type of exemption. Property owners should check their account online to make sure that all exemptions to which they are entitled are in place.
The multi-family market is growing as the economy spurs the need for new apartment construction. Increased market rents and higher occupancy will increase market values of multi-family housing 22 percent. Higher occupancies have decreased concession offerings and the rental rates have gone up 6.6 percent in 2013.
Office buildings and warehouses have also seen an increase in value with office buildings increasing in value by 17.8 percent and warehouses by 13.7 percent.
The retail market has also shown improvement over the past 12 months with a higher sales volume and a decline in available inventory combining to increase market values 18.5 percent.
Values of refineries and inventories are expected to be similar to 2013 values. There have been several announcements of increased chemical plant capacity or new unit construction, led by new construction by Exxon Mobil, Lyondell Bassell and Chevron Phillips, so values for most chemical facilities are expected to increase slightly this year. Inventory volumes at industrial facilities are expected to be near last year’s levels.
Property owners who receive their notices may begin the
protest process immediately. While there is a protest form included in the
packet, one of the fastest and easiest ways to do this is to use the district’s
online iFile program which can be found at www.hcad.org/iFile.