Many Montgomery County homeowners may see a significant increase in their appraised property values this month. The increases are due, in part, to the rising cost of real estate in the area, said Mark Castleschouldt, chief appraiser for the Montgomery County Appraisal District.
In Montgomery County, appraised property values have increased by an average of 12.5 percent in 2015 over 2014 valuations, Castleschouldt said. Based on average home prices in the Magnolia area, some homeowners could see a property value increase of anywhere from $56,000 to $68,000.
"We have experienced, in the last several years, double digit [property tax] increases [throughout the area]," Castleschouldt said. "Harris County has gone up 15 percent, and Fort Bend [County] has gone up 14 to 16 percent. It just depends on if the [housing] market is really good in a particular area and if it is escalating. Believe me, that type of increase is not seen throughout the state of Texas, but is probably seen more in the metropolitan areas where the real estate market is extremely hot."
The appraisal district monitors trends in the real estate market for residential properties to identify the selling price of homes in the area, and those numbers are used to determine property values. Using this method, properties are grouped by neighborhood and type to keep values uniform throughout the area.
In Montgomery County and surrounding areas, new residential developments and an increased housing demand have driven up appraised property values significantly, which led to property tax rate hikes, Castleschouldt said.
Appraisals are typically mailed by April 1, and property owners have an option to protest their valuations. A Notice to Protest form can be found on the appraisal district's website at www.mcad-tx.org or at the district's office in Conroe. Depending on the type of property, district officials may request a hearing with a review board if a homeowner believes an appraisal is higher than market value or is unequal in comparison to similar properties. The deadline to submit property appraisal protest forms is June 1.
Property owners over the age of 65 and disabled veterans can qualify for tax exemptions. If a property owner qualifies for a homestead exemption, the property tax increases can be capped at 10 percent, which would grant an average homeowner the ability to pay taxes on their home as if it was worth $15,000 less, Castleschouldt said.
After the June 1 protest deadline, the appraised values are certified and sent to the Montgomery County Tax Office. The values are then used to determine the effective tax rate for 2015, and final bills will be mailed out in late September or early October. Payment for property taxes is due by Jan. 1, 2016.
For a full story on appraised property value increases in the area, read the Tomball/Magnolia May edition of Community Impact Newspaper.