Depending on your situation, the dizzying rise of real estate values can have an astonishing upside or a dismal downside.

In Parker County, the average price for a home has climbed roughly 25% over a year ago, with the median price for a house in the county well over $400,000.

Low interest rates combined with an intense demand for houses and a tight supply have pushed home values through the roof. And that has a lot of taxpayers on edge, because despite Legislative action in 2019 to rein in property taxes, they still are rising. Texas has among the highest property taxes in the nation – sixth highest or seventh highest, depending on the source.

For those looking to sell their house, cash out and downsize, today’s market is a dream come true. For young people hoping to start a family and buy an affordable first house, today’s prices can be a real barrier. Those who lease housing also are feeling squeezed as rents rise in response to increases in taxes and higher property acquisition costs.

Those concerned about rising taxes have several options. If they truly believe their property has been incorrectly assessed, they should contact their local appraisal district and schedule a meeting. If they are still unsatisfied, they can request a hearing before the Appraisal Review Board. They also should take advantage of all exemptions available to them.

Additionally, they should become engaged in city, county or school district budget deliberations. They should attend public hearings on budgets and tax rates. The taxing entities, not the appraisal district, are the ones that determine how much money to levy and what tax rate to set.

Another thing property owners can do is to vote during the state Constitutional referendum on May 7. We support both propositions. Proposition 1 aims to give some relief on school taxes to elderly or disabled people. Proposition 2 offers relief to the broader public by increasing the amount of the residence homestead exemption from $25,000 to $40,000 for school taxes.

Real estate markets are cyclical. Higher interest rates and a greater inventory of houses likely will cool the current market. In the meantime, taxpayers should let their voices be heard to their state and local representatives.

Weatherford Democrat

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