Even so, population growth and new housing development continues around Hays County. For many residents and prospective residents, affording both homes and the property taxes on them is becoming increasingly difficult.
1. No longer a seller’s market
After several years of both the number of closed sales and the costs of those homes rising, data shows the real estate market in San Marcos, Buda and Kyle is cooling off.
“I really believe that it’s just stable—that it’s not a buyer's or a seller's market,” said Peggy Jones, president of Four Rivers Association of Realtors, which does business in Caldwell, Comal, Gonzales, Guadalupe and Hays counties.
For example, after watching the number of closed sales go up almost every year in all three markets, the number of closed home sales was down across San Marcos, Buda and Kyle between 2017-18. Similarly, the median home price rose again in that same period but not by the same large margins that have been apparent in recent years.
2. Inexpensive homes are becoming rarer
Even though the rise in median home price has slowed, data for the past four years shows affordable housing in San Marcos, Buda and Kyle is increasingly hard to find. In Buda for example, while the number of homes between $200,000 and $300,000 has stayed relatively consistent, the number of homes valued at less than $200,000 has decreased from 20.4% in 2015 to 3.7% in 2018. Kyle’s midrange options have effectively flipped price brackets, with homes between $100,000 and $200,000 going from 71.2% in 2015 to 23% in 2018 and the percentage of homes priced between $200,000 and $300,000 going from 27.3% to 73.1% during the same period. In San Marcos, the percentage of homes selling for less than $100,000 has shrunk from 10.1% in 2015 to 2.4% in 2018.
3. Appraisals are up in Hays County
It is not just home values that have been on the rise in the last few years in Hays County—the value of homes has also increased, which means people have to pay more in property taxes even if rates are not increased.
“When the market is increasing then there’s going to be a direct impact on our appraised values increasing as well,” said Laura Raven, chief appraiser at the Hays Central Appraisal District.
One of the consequences of higher appraisals is the number of people who protest their appraisal has soared, increasing by nearly 150% since 2013. Raven said this is typical for districts with quickly rising property values, but because each protest must be addressed individually the appraisal district has much more to do.
“That is the definite challenge—appraisals increase and the number of appeals increase,” Raven said. “We have to be creative ... every year.”
In addition to increasing by 148.61% between 2013-18, appraisal protests increased by nearly 25% between 2017-18 alone.