Rising values are a blessing and a bane to homeowners and the problem is only getting worse in the DFW market. Yes, your equity increases with increasing values but so too do your property taxes. If you are not planning to move anytime soon, prepare for increased home values and increased taxes. They make the protest season more important than ever.Here's what one of our clients wrote recently:"This has been my home since my divorce in 1992, hoping to age in place. Retired from teaching about 5 years ago. I thought I had planned for everything.
This year sickens me, it's different. The value of my structure has been halved and the value of my property has been raised $149,000. It looks like the concept of frozen isn't, or perhaps I don't understand that. I don't know where I would go. I paid $128,000 for my home. It had a garage conversion to bed and bath, so my garage/studio is a new and separate structure, 2.5 car garage, rear entry. I hope something can be done but this so looks like a developers dream to me, making me sad and angry at the same time. 72 is too old for that. Appreciate being able to find you. Please help."
By end of 2016 affordability throughout DFW has declined to its lowest level since 1991 according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunities Index. The median price for new and existing homes has increased 77 percent since 2010 while median incomes have risen only 4% in the same period. Seven years ago 80% of homes in DFW were within reach of families earning the median income but by late last year that affordability measure had declined to 50%.At the end of 2016 the median home in Dallas sold for $274,000 while in Fort Worth it sold for $212,000 which makes Tarrant County housing more affordable since median incomes are roughly comparable.Land prices -- which are difficult to contest when protesting to the Appraisal Review Board because a reduction in one can affect entire neighborhoods -- are also rising. In 2010 Dallas, for example, had a 50 month supply of lots; now that same number is down to 20 months supply.For many homeowners the protest process is the only protection against being priced out of their homes. Paying a professional a percentage of your first year savings can be a bargain when you realize the effect of a successful protest can be felt for many years. A market value reduction from the ARB should survive for more than one years because in the year following a successful protest the chief appraiser may not increase the value of a homesteaded property without "substantial evidence". Also future increases, which are often a percentage applied to the prior year's value, will come from a lower base. The difference between what you might get by going it alone to the ARB and what a qualified professional can get for you can be worth far more than the fee when measured over your remaining time in the property.For more about how your protest can survive more than the current year, see where your reduction is likely a "Two-fer".