According to a recent report from CoreLogic, home prices in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex increased by nearly 4 percent from February 2018 to February 2019.
In the State of Texas, Fort Worth took home first prize as the municipality where home prices increased the most during that span with 5.7 percent increase. Not a prize to be proud of, necessarily.
This is nothing new. We have seen home prices increase since the Great Recession. While price increases certainly aren’t fun for home buyers, they haven’t stopped the Dallas-Fort Worth area from being one of the hottest relocation destinations in the United States
Tarrant Tax Appraisal District Doing Its Thing
What is unsettling is that local municipalities continue to abuse this housing boom and overall strong economy to inflate property values when it comes to tax appraisal time.
In a recent story by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Tarrant County chief appraiser Jeffrey Law was quoted that 2019 tax values would most likely increase 7 to 10 percent.
Now I’m no mathematician but it certainly appears that Tarrant County is getting a little loose with their appraisals. Shocking. All these increases are okay because we are in a state that doesn’t have an income tax, right? Besides, we are in a tremendous economy where all indicators show that slowdown will never happen … right?
Taxes Up, Prices Up. GDP, and COLA? Not So Much
According to Kiplinger.com the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is predicted to be around 2.6 percent for 2019. The GDP is one indicator of economic strength. Other indicators of economic strength are the COLA, or Cost of Living Adjustment, as well as the Inflation Rate.
COLA is how much money it will take every year to maintain a current standard of living. When you hear about a cost of living raise, that is simply giving earners more money to maintain the same standard of living as the previous year.
COLA is currently predicted by the federal government for 2019 at 2.8 percent.
So taxes and values will increase at 10 percent, but income to maintain the current standard of living will increase by around 3 percent. Does that seem right? Something’s gotta give.
Texas Legislature to the Rescue?
Don’t hold your breath. As representatives gather in Austin and do their usual puffing of chests in regards to “helping their fellow Texans,” be prepared for a letdown.
Taxes aren’t going to be lowered. Even if one representative or municipality start claiming victory for the property owners of the Lone Star State with capped tax rates or lowered percentages, just remember that it’s all smoke-and-mirrors. Taxes never go down, they just are repackaged.
One of the favorite tactics in Tarrant County is to proclaim that the property tax rate isn’t going to rise, so they keep the rate the same but then raise appraised values of the home. The following year they will say, “we aren’t going to increase the appraised value of your home,” but then raise the value of your land. It’s an absurd ping-pong game of increasing appraisals of land then appraisals of dwelling every few years.
Can Anything Be Done?
The Bowtie Realtor always encourages homeowners to protest your taxes with your local tax board. In the past, those boards have been staffed with cronies and sycophants of local government and difficult for any real discussion.
I haven’t seen it yet, but I hear that the Tarrant Appraisal District Website has a simple protest button to click then asks you about your value. Ten seconds is what I’ve been told for an auto-response to approve a lower amount should you enter it.
So make sure you protest your taxes.
Other than that, no hope in sight. Not from local government, tax appraisers and certainly not the Texas state government. Greed doesn’t ever change.
Well, that’s all from Tarrant County Tuesday this week Dirty Readers. Thanks for reading and following and sharing! As always, if you have questions, comments or great ideas for a post … hit me up!
Seth Fowler is a licensed Real Estate Sales Professional for Williams Trew Real Estate in Fort Worth, TX. Statements and opinions are his and his alone. Seth has been involved with the home sales and real estate industry in the Fort Worth area since 2004. He and his family have lived in the area for over 17 years. Seth also loves bowties! You can reach Seth at: 817.980.6636 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are looking for a Real Estate Sherpa to help you buy or sell … give Seth a call!