travis county values take a hit as neighboring areas hold tight
Travis County’s property values declined over the past year while other Central Texas counties remained largely flat, according to certified tax rolls released by area appraisal districts.
The appraised market value for properties in Travis County dropped from $124 billion in 2009 to $119.7 billion this year — about a 3.5 percent decrease. That drop is less than appraisers feared when they initially projected a decline of more than 5 percent. But it still is the first overall decline since 2003.
Meanwhile, Williamson County saw a decline of only $200 million, to $41.6 billion. Bastrop and Hays added $100 million and $200 million, respectively, for total values of $6.5 billion and $14.2 billion.
The decline in Travis County can be attributed to the recession, Chief Appraiser Patrick Brown said.
“There have been some dramatic brakes put on the amounts of new value being added,” Brown said.
In 2009, $3.2 billion in new property was added to the rolls. This year, that dropped to $1.9 billion — too little to compensate for falling values of older properties.
Brown predicted that resi- dential values could continue to drift downward for several months, but he expects an increase in about 18 months.
Fewer people are protesting their values, Brown said, as appraisals catch up with the recession’s impact.
In 2009, about 94,000 protests were filed. This year, there are about 70,000.
In Williamson County, Chief Appraiser Alvin Lankford said protests dropped about 25 per-
Continued from A1 cent over last year after values dropped for two-thirds of the residential properties the past two years.
But values overall began to stabilize this year, Lankford said.
“It’s much easier for our taxing entities when they don’t see large decreases,” he said.
Cities, school districts and other taxing entities allow various deductions, such as homeowner exemptions, from the market value of some properties, which reduces the base on which they can levy taxes. So the net taxable value of properties is lower than the overall value.
And the countywide averages mask differences between taxing entities.
Values for the Round Rock Independent School District and the City of Round Rock, for example, dropped between 2 and 3 percent. The City of Leander will enjoy a 3.5 percent increase. Lankford said Round Rock has more commercial properties, which declined more this past year.
In Bastrop County, Chief Appraiser Mark Boehnke said protests remain about the same as the year before. “All consumers are looking for any way they can to save money,” he said.