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Houston Commercial Real Estate's Rising Property Taxes: Is Harris County Appraisal District Putting

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Posted May 22, 2012 and Updated May 22, 2012 by Eric Hughes #

The overall tone in the Houston commercial real estate market is an optimistic one. Experts are speculating a continued turn-around for this year and beyond. One would assume this is good news for Houstonians - not necessarily.  It seems property owners are not the only ones paying attention to real estates “sunny forecast.”

In a preemptive attempt to balance the market values with the appropriate taxes, the Appraisal Districts have begun to increase commercial real estate property taxes.  According to Harris County Chief Appraiser, Jim Robinson, “the values of commercial and industrial real properties and apartment properties are all beginning to show strong signs of economic recovery. These three categories of property are expected to increase between 6-11%.”

Out of 600 commercial real estate properties included in a recent study, it was found there are significant appraisal value increase, across the board:

  • Retail - The average increase was 18.4%, with the highest increases in A&B-class properties. The largest increase found was as much as 84% year-over-year 
  • Multifamily -  Average increase - 17.8%. The hardest hit were the B & C-class properties, with as much as a 129% and 184% value increases over last year 
  • Office - office properties are experiencing increases of 23.5% on average, with highest value increases occurring in B-class properties and some reaching as much 85% and 98.9% higher than the 2011 tax value 

In every realm, decision making without a thorough understanding of all factors is never a good thing.  Unfortunately for Houston property owners, that seems to be precisely what the Harris County Appraisal District is doing.

So what can you do? Fight your taxes! A professional tax consultant can help you help the Appraisal District to see that through their efforts to “balance” the market, they are actually tipping the tax scale.

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