Travis County property owners can expect to receive their 2021 appraisal notices from the Travis Central Appraisal District in the mail, if they haven't already, and have until May 17 to file a protest.
The city's scorching housing market, which is fueled by record-low housing inventory, may lead to sticker shock. "Some residential property owners may see significant increases in their market value due to a lack of supply and high demand in the local housing market," Chief Appraiser Marya Crigler said. "However, property owners with a homestead exemption will still benefit from a 10% cap on the increase of their taxable value."
The Travis Central Appraisal District sent out appraisal notices to nearly 390,000 property owners in mid-April. The notices include the appraised market value of the property as of Jan. 1 and the taxable value, taking into account any exemptions.
In Travis County, the residential homestead median market value increased more than 16% year-over-year, from $354,622 in 2020 to $413,403, according to TCAD. The residential homestead median taxable value increased nearly 11%, from $279,520 to $304,832, in the same period.
If property owners have not yet received their notice in the mail, they can find the same information on the TCAD website here. Property owners who are represented by tax agents can expect their notice to be sent to the agent.
Property owners who believe their property's market value is incorrect can file a protest with the appraisal district by May 17. In 2020, property owners filed 123,957 protests, accounting for around 27% of all properties.
Want to learn more about the 2021 protest process? Join us this Wednesday for the last webinar in our webinar series. Register now: https://t.co/AG6WSWl4vUpic.twitter.com/fsjUNpMggb
— Travis Central Appraisal District (@TravisCentralAD) May 3, 2021
TCAD strongly encourages property owners to file their protests online here, where they can upload evidence, review the appraisal district's evidence and review a settlement offer. Protests can also be filed by mail and through the dropbox located outside the TCAD office.
The informal process, in which property owners will receive a settlement offer from the appraisal district, began April 19 and ends June 18. During this time, property owners will meet with a TCAD appraiser by phone on a first-come, first-served basis; depending on the evidence presented, the settlement offer may be lower than the appraisal.
Property owners who do not accept a settlement offer during the informal process can present their case to the Travis Appraisal Review Board, an independent group of citizens authorized to resolve disputes between taxpayers and the appraisal district. ARB hearings are expected to begin next month.
"TCAD expects a record number of protests and a significant number of ARB hearings in 2021 given the impact of the pandemic, the anticipated reappraisal of residential properties, and rapidly rising home prices," Crigler wrote in a Jan. 14 memo to the TCAD board.
TCAD did not reappraise residential properties in 2020 because of a legal dispute with the Austin Board of Realtors. Last fall, however, the appraisal district identified a new market data source and was able to use it to reappraise homes this year.
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So you want to buy a house?
To anyone trying to get on the "housing ladder," it's been a discouraging couple of years as prices skyrocketed in a market crowded with buyers bidding against each other for just about any available home.
Things may be calming down, with the Austin Board of REALTORS reporting fewer sales and more available homes this summer.
Mortgage rates have more than doubled in the last year, from around 3% to well over 6% on a 30-year fixed rate loan, getting even more of a bump this week after the Federal Reserve raised bank rates on Wednesday.
So how affordable are homes right now? That, of course, depends on what you want and how much you're able or willing to pay, but here are some rough estimates of what a typical buyer would pay to buy a $650,000 home, which would be considered "mid-price" in today's market.
Mortgage banker Chris Holland (NMLS 211033) of Austin's Sente Mortgage ran some numbers for Austonia to illustrate a typical purchase.
Holland says that while the 30-year fixed rate mortgage is often mentioned in the media, the most popular loan that he's seeing now is a 7/1 adjustable rate mortgage, which has a fixed rate for 7 years and then adjusts every year based on market rates, with a limit on how much it can increase each year. The interest is amortized over a 30-year period. Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs) offer lower rates than fixed rate loans.
Here are the numbers, which are examples. In practice, exact numbers vary with a buyer's credit rating and overall financial situation, and with the rate, which can move up or down at any time.
- $650,000 home purchase price
- 7/1 ARM at 5.875%
- 5% down payment, equals $32,500
- 95% financed, equals $617,500
- $4,990 payment, including principle and interest (P&I), insurance, and property tax
- Typically, a borrower's debt to income ratio needs to be at or below 45%. So for this mortgage, a borrower, or borrowers, would need income of roughly $11,100/month, or $133,200/year. That number could be higher, depending on the buyer's outstanding credit balances on things like credit cards and car loans.
Holland says he's had a lot of clients approved for loans who were house hunting but have put that on hold, hoping prices come down.
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