Travis Central Appraisal District prepares for influx of property value protests

Marya Crigler, the chief appraiser for the Travis Central Appraisal District, speaks at an April 30 meeting of the Travis County Commissioners Court.

Marya Crigler, the chief appraiser for the Travis Central Appraisal District, speaks at an April 30 meeting of the Travis County Commissioners Court.

Property appraisal protests in Travis County hit a record high in 2018, increasing nearly 13% year over year.

Last year, 33% of property owners protested their assessed values. This amounted to 142,812 protests, Marya Crigler, the chief appraiser for the Travis Central Appraisal District, told Travis County commissioners at an April 30 meeting.

“Any time we see an appreciation in values, we also see an appreciation in the level of protest that the appraisal district sees,” Crigler said.

In 2019, TCAD has assessed more than $5.6 billion in new property value for a total of $213.6 billion in taxable property value.  

The most sharply rising property values are concentrated in Central East Austin—bordered by I-35, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, US 183 and Hwy. 71—and particularly along the East Riverside corridor, Crigler said. The total value change in this area was 12%, while the value increase across the county was around 7%.

Crigler attributed increasing property values to an issue of supply and demand.

“We continue to have a substantial backlog of pent-up demand for housing and low supply,” Crigler said.

TCAD is required to process the bulk of protests in a 49-day time period during the summer because area taxing entities rely on a property value roll when finalizing their budgets and setting property tax rates in the early fall.

“It’s been a struggle for the appraisal district,” Crigler said, adding it is likely TCAD will not be able to meet its July 25 deadline this year.

To process the huge number of protests—more than 2,900 a day during the 49-day period—TCAD is looking to purchase a new property to increase its number of appraisal review panel boards.

In the last few years, TCAD has lost around 5% of the county’s assessed property value to successful protests, Crigler said.
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