Central Texas tax appraisal districts’ review of property values shows a steadily growing region during the past five years.
According to Bell County Tax Appraisal District, the county’s larger cities — Killeen, Harker Heights, Belton and Temple — all experienced more than 4 percent increases in their taxable property values.
Harker Heights realized the largest gains with 7.87 percent more taxable property, equaling more than $110 million in property.
“Countywide, we are about 4.5 to 4.75 percent overall,” said Marvin Hahn, Bell County’s chief appraiser.
New construction drove rising property values this year, with slight gains from higher market values, Hahn said.
“We have about $440 million in new construction this year, and that was up from what we have seen in the last three years,” Hahn said. “We have also seen a little bit of an uptick in the market this year, making the rest of the increases from (increased) values.”
For 2013, Killeen realized a 4.03 percent increase, or $194 million. Temple experienced a 5.9 percent increase, or $208 million. Belton saw a 5.46 percent rise, equaling $43.2 million.
Coryell County cities also saw increased property values.
Copperas Cove, which has property in both Coryell and Lampasas counties experienced 2.6 percent increase or $31 million. Values in Gatesville rose by 1.84 percent or $6 million.
“Copperas Cove had a lot of new construction to include the H-E-B and all the stuff that is going on along Constitution (Drive),” said Mitch Fast, Coryell Central Tax Appraisal District chief appraiser.
New construction and the rising market also contributed to increased taxable property values in Lampasas County, said Melissa Gonzales, the county’s chief appraiser.
Across the county, Oncor’s Transmission Line project added $23 million worth of property values, which is about half of the county’s increase, Gonzales said.
“There was more growth this year than the previous year,” Gonzales said. With the exception of 2010, when the state’s tax exemption for disabled veterans went into effect, taxable property values across Central Texas steadily increased by about 2 percent a year.
Before 2008, Bell County was growing by $600 million to $800 million per year, Hahn said. Since the recession, the county averaged $250 million to $350 million, which is a “positive thing and a good thing” for Bell County.
Hahn said traditionally the majority of the growth has been in the western part of the county.
Killeen experienced steady growth for several years, which was accompanied by taxable property value increases, City Manager Glenn Morrison said.
“While it varies from year to year. We hope to see continued growth and excellent growth,” Morrison said.
Morrison attributed the growth to Texas’ friendly business climate and Killeen’s location in Central Texas.
This growth means “more opportunity, from commercial and residential opportunities to enhanced products and services. I think that as we continue to grow ... private investors will continue to find us, and the communities all around Central Texas.”