Property tax appraisals decline 1.3% in Williamson County

Posted in Election 2010, Taxes, Uncategorized, Williamson County at 8:34 am by wcnews

From the AAS, Appraisals…stumble a little in Williamson.

[I]in Williamson County they dipped 1.3 percent, according to appraisal officials…


In Williamson County, the average value fell 1.3 percent, to $188,523, Chief Appraiser Alvin Lankford said Friday.


In Williamson County, about 157,000 notices went out on April 24. Lankford said values are up in some areas and down in others, with no discernible pattern.

“It’s really a mixed bag, not a definite trend across the county,” he said.

Even though the market may be softening in Williamson County, Lankford said, “it’s still doing OK as far as values. Until the market value starts to see a decline, we will not show that in the appraisal roll.”

Lankford said Williamson might be seeing what he describes as a ripple effect: When the real estate market is rising, values tend to go up first in Central Austin, then in the suburbs, followed by rural communities.

When the market is declining, values tend to trend lower in the reverse order, he said.

That could explain why Travis is showing an increase in residential values and Williamson is seeing a slight reduction, Lankford said.

Appraisals are a lagging indicator, based in part on the previous year’s sales. In Central Texas, most home sales in 2008 occurred in the first eight months of the year, when prices were still trending higher.

Median home prices didn’t start to decline until late last year.

Lankford said appraisals on about 68 percent of Williamson County homes fell by more than $1,000. About 2 percent stayed within $1,000 of last year’s value and the remaining 30 percent rose.

Individual homeowners may see their values rise by more or less than the average. Texas law caps the yearly increase on the taxable value of homes with a homestead exemption at 10 percent.

A property owner’s actual tax bill depends on the tax rates set by school districts and other taxing jurisdictions.

Of course what’s left unsaid is what effect lower appraisals, and therefore less taxes being collected by those school districts and taxing jurisdictions, i.e cities and the county. And what effect that will have on the either the tax rate or cuts in services by cities and the county. It will surely make some tough choices for those facing election in 2010.

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