REAL ESTATE Home values up despite COVID19
VALUES ON THE RISE Appraised values changed an average of 6%- 8% in the Cy-Fair area from 2019-20.
Far northwest 2019: $253,432 2020: $267,075 Far west 2019: $252,749 2020: $270,486 Southwest 2019: $172,568 2020: $186,515 Northwest 2019: $205,762 2020: $220,437 South 2019: $243,923 2020: $247,119 Inside Beltway 8 2019: $174,906 2020: $187,162
BY SHAWN ARRAJJ
this will aect us.” After Hurricane Harvey, the Texas Legislature passed a law that would allow property damaged in a natural disaster to have exemptions applied to home values that could range from 15%-100%, ensuring homeowners dealing with damage would have lighter tax bills come January. In an April ruling, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said the law only applies to physical damage, not economic loss. State Sen. Paul Bettencourt, RHouston, who authored the 2019 bill Paxton referenced, said he sought an expedited opinion from Paxton out of concern the pandemic and the drop in oil prices could put many taxpayers in a bind. However, he said he was not surprised by the ruling. “Sadly, instead of having a fun Texas two-step, we’re facing a Texas double whammy of the COVID-19 shutdown shock as well as oil demand shock,” Bettencourt said in an April 22 phone interview. “That’s the real issue
Home values rose between 6%-8% on average in the Cy-Fair area in 2020. Although a disaster declaration has been declared for the state of Texas, that declaration will not trigger property tax relief, both state and local ocials said. Property values and tax rates are the main factors for howmuch residents owe in property taxes in January. Some Cy-Fair homeowners said, in light of the economic down- turn caused by the coronavirus, an increase in tax bills would hit hard next year. More than 34,000 residents across 10 Cy-Fair ZIP codes led for unemployment benets between March 18-April 18, according to the Texas Workforce Commission. Cy-Fair resident Krystal Self-Laguna said her appraised value increased by $50,000, which she said causes her monthly mortgage payment to jump by $600. “Horrible timing,” she said. “I’m highly concerned and worried how
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SOURCE: HARRIS COUNTY APPRAISAL DISTRICTCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
with what we’re facing now. It’s not physical damage. It’s purely economy activity damage.” When home values are appraised each year, appraisal districts such as the Harris County Appraisal District are instructed by state law to base appraisals on the value of a home as of Jan. 1, HCAD spokesperson Jack Barnett said. As a result, 2020 home values were assigned based on data gathered prior to the economic
downturn. Any change in value caused by the pandemic will be reected in 2021 values, Barnett said. “Values were accurate, and there is no provision in the tax code that allows us to change them for an event like this COVID-19 pandemic,” Barnett said in an email. The deadline to le protests was March 15, but residents who received notices after April 15 have 30 days from the date on the notice to le.
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CYFAIR EDITION • MAY 2020
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