The $2 Million Swing: DCAD Valuations for Slice of Fitzhugh Avenue Revisited

How could it be that in Dallas neighborhoods booming with redevelopment, that multifamily properties and investment properties haven’t seen any increases in their appraisals?

Last week, I wrote an update on the DCAD valuations for properties that are part of a block on Lemmon Avenue that was to have been the site of a Central Market (before HEB shifted plans to McKinney Avenue). That story showed DCAD substantially raising the assessed valuations in 2019.

But as you know, I’ve written a few stories on DCAD, and particularly one on properties at the end of a block of Fitzhugh Avenue bounded by Swiss and Gaston Avenues.  I’d seen a new listing for a 616-square-foot detached house at 921 N. Fitzhugh and was curious. The price seemed high, but it was a good-ish location, so I checked the taxes. That check expanded to encompass 13 properties at the end of the block. What I found was astonishing. Two apartment buildings hadn’t seen a penny increase in their appraised value in five years. Another investment property whose value had bounced around between $75,500 and $78,560 since 2011.

What happened in 2019 is equally astonishing …

Those two rental buildings on the corner that hadn’t been increased in value since 2015?  They leaped from $313,720 to $735,010 – that’s a 134 percent increase. And because they’re an investment and not homesteads, the city is able to base taxes off the whole thing.

That house that bounced around in the $77,000 range for years?  It’s now valued at $192,510, or a 147 percent increase. But that’s not the best. Two properties at 911 and 915 N. Fitzhugh Avenue jumped 232 and 252 percent, respectively, this year.

As you can see above, the smallest increase was 15 percent for a single family home at 4902 Swiss Avenue, while the highest was the aforementioned 252 percent.

Totaling it all up, in 2018 these 13 properties were valued at $3,270,220. In 2019, their reassessed values totaled $5,307,290. In all, these properties increased by $2,037,070, or 62 percent. Assuming a 2.845 percent tax rate (that DCAD is estimating), the increases will put an additional $57,954.64 in Dallas coffers this year.

All I want to know is, where’s my finder’s fee?

But before I thump my chest too hard, my prognostications weren’t all roses.

Writing in D Magazine last year, I noted that the top 10 most expensive homes for sale in Dallas were seemingly grossly undervalued by DCAD. One listing was 5950 Deloache, which had been appraised for $20,185,280 in 2018 while it was for sale at $24.5 million – an undervaluation of 17.6 percent. In August 2018, Candy reported it sold for “just under $19 million” after being on the market since 2014. This year’s assessed value is $18,787,570, reflecting the sale. Hat tip to DCAD on that one.

To be fair (to myself, of course), the point of that article was taxation inequity. While as a city we’re not collectively generating enough tax revenue to fund Dallas properly, we should all be sick of the inequity of property taxes where some — especially commercial property owners — seem to escape while others pay, and pay, and pay.


Remember:  High-rises, HOAs and renovation are my beat. But I also appreciate modern and historical architecture balanced against the YIMBY movement. In 2016, 2017 and 2018, the National Association of Real Estate Editors recognized my writing with three Bronze (2016, 2017, 2018) and two Silver (2016, 2017) awards.  Have a story to tell or a marriage proposal to make?  Shoot me an email sharewithjon@candysdirt.com. Be sure to look for me on Facebook and Twitter. You won’t find me, but you’re welcome to look.